Approaching Authority: Transpersonal Gestures in the Poetry of Yeats, Eliot, and Williams
This study, using the example of Yeats, Eliot, and Williams, examines the principal gestures of Modernist poetic speakers attempting to identify, mediate, and project cultural authority. To effect this mediation, the poetic speakers must engage in "transpersonality"; by association with the objects of presences in the poem, they must translate their finite egos into mediating voices detached from the concerns of unique selfhood. However, complete transpersonality brings silence: the fact of utterance presupposes a unique perspective, never the totality of perspectives that an atemporal authority possesses. So, rather than the speaker's elevation to a position of authority, the necessary result of the transpersonality is instead that the speaker approach authority in calculated acts of mystification.
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Paradise Lost and The Prelude
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abstract accept achieve action actual apparent archetypal argues assert attempt authenticity authority Beautiful becomes beginning Book brings centered claims co-extensive condition consciousness consequence continuity create cultural cultural authority death dependent describes desire display distinction divine effort ego-centered authority ego's Eliot emerge empirical exist experience expressed fact failure figure force Four gives ground human idea ideal identify identity images imagination individual interpretive language less lines living locate Logos Logos-centered authority meaning measure mediate mind mind's move movement Nature never object origin particular passage past Paterson perception poem poet poet's poetic poetry position presence pride prior problem projected reader provides Quartets question reading reality reference relation relationship remains rhetorical seems self-consciousness sense serve speak speaker structure takes temporal things thought tion tradition transpersonal turn vision voice Williams's Yeats younger