Both have been subjected to criticism throughout history: Plato for instance, rejected poetry because, among other things, it did not provide true knowledge and similarly, certain modernist poets renounce rhetoric for being deceptive speech (Nicholls 2011). As the quote by Lehmann suggests, they reacted against their preceding traditions, be it philosophically or poetically. In the case of such modernists, this reaction would result in a completely new mode of writing: symbolism and its variations.
This essay deals with the paradoxical rejection of rhetoric influences in early modernist poetry, as was reflected by William Butler Yeats and Ezra Pound at the time. I will tackle this issue by I) reflecting on which influences they renounced and it) how this came to be paradoxical. It should be noted however, that these comments are aimed at a certain period in the authors’ work, and do not necessarily hold true for their entire oeuvre. The poetic revolt against rhetoric originated in late 19th century France under symbolist works by Charles Baudelaire, Paul Overlain and others.
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Their criticism and works were introduced to poets in the United Kingdom Yeats) as well as in the United States (Pound) via Arthur Symons’ ‘The Symbolist Movement in Literature’ (1899), and as such, undermined the late Victorian mode which was “steeped in rhetoric” (Nicholls 2011), as well as the works by their contemporaries: the Georgian poets. Gerard Manley Hopkins for instance, saw the very aim of poetry to be rhetorical as it must be ‘performed’, according to him, it presupposes the need for an audience.
Symons main intent was to identify and reveal how French poets depicted “unseen reality’, how they made “the soul of things visible” (Symons 1958). Take eloquence, and wring its neck, as Overlain had proposed, or rather ordered, and had proven to be possible: the words ‘depicted’ and Visible’ are very much in place here, as Versailles main strategy of avoiding rhetoric was “to be absolutely sincere, to express exactly what he saw… As if by accident” (Symons 1958).
From this, we may explain the following quotes by Yeats and Symons: “We make out of the quarrel with others, rhetoric, but of the quarrel with ourselves, poetry. Unlike the rhetoricians, who get a confident voice from remembering the crowd they have won or may win, we sing amid our uncertainty. ” (William Butler Yeats) “In the devotion in rhetoric to either beauty or truth, there is a certain consciousness of an audience, of an external Judgment: Poetry If eye Ben -Degrees an r . 8 The rhetoric would convince, be admired.
It is the very essence of poet unconscious of anything between its own moment of flight and the which it will never attain. ” (Symons 1958) We can derive two main between rhetoric and poetry from these words: Firstly, rhetoric SSH public life: it springs from quarrel with others and reflects conscious audience. Poetry on the other hand, has no affiliation to public life early with ourselves and is essentially unconscious, as if by acacia difference results from this, namely that rhetoric may be deceptive the crowd’, it takes into account external Judgment. Poetry however deceptive: it must be ‘absolutely sincere’.
This apparent dichotomy two main rhetoric influences which early modernist poets such as wanted to avoid: I) They did not write their poetry for’ the masses renounced all which was abstract and over-determined. By doing with previous poetic traditions which were rooted in “the art of drew unimportant matter so as to fool the audience for the time being. Keller 2014)) According to Symons (1958), symbolism was “an attempt literature, to evade the old bondage of rhetoric, the old bondage of Similarly, Yeats stated that poetry is the poets business of self-expo nothing more.
Both argued that a poem should not acquire admire made a case for it, but rather because it was a thing of beauty that persuasion (Keller 2014). The rejection of rhetoric influences such targeting and abstraction bound together in refuting scientific disc manifested in positivism. Positivism concerned itself with topics o consciousness, and therefore aligned with public life. At the same it exhaustive and precise description aligned with the abstract, as it genuine clarity (Keller 2014).
In contrast, Pensacola argues that Pop scientific discourse, as it deals with empirical facts, the concrete, o which deals with the abstract (Nicholls 2011). Both views explain w symbolists were so concerned with visualizing effects and avoided ornamentation and over-determination of topics: an image is clear Elite’s main critique on John Million’s ‘Paradise Lost’ for instance, WA Visual imagination’ (Schools 2006). At the same time, Herbert Spence Style’ (1852) argued that ideas should be expressed in the smallest and that the focus of writing should be particular and concrete.
Eli latter by promoting the presence of an ‘objective correlative’ in Poe objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula o emotion, such that when the external facts, which must terminate experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked. ” (School mainly developed this vision in Images, which according to him, form of symbolism, by which he distinguished himself from Yeats: symbolist… But he has written images as have many good poets be thing against him, and he has nothing against the Imagines, at Ii know. (Pound, as cited in Keller 2014) Charles Alter (2004) notes t Wallace Stevens’) “abiding hatred of rhetoric” did not enable him t rhetoric influence in his works. Pound on the other hand, declared the furthest possible remove from rhetoric (Nicholls 2011). According to Schools (2006), imagines combined two images into a whole in search for an objective correlative, eliminating all fugues of speech and other rhetoric strategies: an ‘ideogram method’. Even here, rhetoric slips in however, as the reader is forced ink the two images, to somehow detect their equivalence.
Although no figures of speech are present in the wording of the poem itself, they are necessarily made u the reader’s mind: e. G. A simile. Due to the more clear manifestation of Images as non-rhetoric, certain paradoxes began to surface. Schools (2006) argues that although Images may not be aimed at appealing to the masses, striving towards a object correlative presupposes the wish for individual readers to recompose the same image as the poet intended: it may not be public persuasion, but it remains private persuasion.
It thus seems that not even Pound managed to completely avow rhetoric influence with Images. We may find both Yeats’ and Pounds failure in the following quote by T. S. Eliot (T. S. Eliot, as cited in Keller 2014): “But as for the escape from rhetoric-there is a great push at the door, and some cases of suffocation. But what is rhetoric? The test seems unsatisfactory. There is rhetoric even among the new poets. ” Rhetoric also became a practical issue for Yeats and Pound through the need to induce people to purchase their works, thereby relating themselves to the public.
As Keller (2014) points out, the uneasy relationship between poetry and rhetoric during that time followed from the “concerns about how to court an audience beyond the coterie, to garner the legitimacy that only a wider audience could confer, but without appearing to do so; without, that is, appearing ‘rhetorical’ A passage from a letter by Pound to his father, shows his approach: “As you don’t know what’s in the book you are expected for the present to say anything that will up advance orders… You understand that what people think after they get the book secondary matter. What I want now is advanced orders. (Pound, as cited in Keel 2014) From this passage, we may derive that Pound advertised his works, aiming at persuading a large crowd to buy them. Winning the crowd’ may then, not be from perspective of the works content (‘… A secondary matter’), though nonetheless Pound paradoxically orients himself to public life, one of the things he rejected to do in hi poetry. His poems may thus not be rhetorical, though his ways of promoting them are. Similarly, Yeats (as cited in Keller 2014) expresses his concerns as follows: “We belled against rhetoric, and now there is a group of younger poets who dare to c us rhetorical.
When I returned to London from Ireland, I had a young man go over my work with me to eliminate the abstract. This was an American Poet, Ezra Pound. The whole movement of poetry is toward pictures, sensuous images, away from rhetoric, from the abstract, toward humility. But I fear I am now becoming rhetoric have been driven into Irish public life- how can I avoid rhetoric? ” It thus seems that whereas Yeats and Pound mostly succeeded in ‘eliminating the abstract’ as well as rating for’ an audience in a lesser extent, they could not deal with the actual need for an audience, and as such, rhetoric caught up with them.
We may however, conclude that the introductory quote by Lehmann generally holds true for their word Yeats and Pound both parted from existing poetic tradition, they did not borrow, b knocked down established boundaries. The paradoxical poetic rejection of rhetoric influence during early modernism then rather exists in the fact that, to show their non-rhetoric works , they seemingly inevitably relied on some of its traits. As phrase y Keller (2014): meats’ and Pounds efforts to promote poetry- and Poetry- were eve bit as social and jussive in nature as those tactics they assigned to rhetoric. In summary, this essay has shown the following: Firstly, Yeats and Pound set off against their predecessors’ rhetorical poetry as well as against contemporary Georgian poet via symbolism on the one hand, and Images on the other. They did this via the elimination of the abstract’ as well as by refuting exteriorly. Secondly, this lead to a general paradox of audience: in an attempt to move away from poetry written for’ audiences (cuff. Prior rhetoric traditions), Yeats & Pound were unable to escape the need for an audience in order to show their wish for change.