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Economy of the Unlost (Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul C (Martin Classical Lectures)

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Economy of the Unlost (Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul C (Martin Classical Lectures) Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The ancient Greek lyric poet Simonides of Keos was the first poet in the Western tradition to take money for poetic composition. From this starting point, Anne Carson launches an exploration, poetic in its own right, of the idea of poetic economy. She offers a reading of certain of Simonides' texts and aligns these with writings of the modern Romanian poet Paul Celan, a Jew and survivor of the Holocaust, whose "economies" of language are notorious. Asking such questions as, What is lost when words are wasted? and Who profits when words are saved? Carson reveals the two poets' striking commonalities.

In Carson's view Simonides and Celan share a similar mentality or disposition toward the world, language and the work of the poet. Economy of the Unlost begins by showing how each of the two poets stands in a state of alienation between two worlds. In Simonides' case, the gift economy of fifth-century b.c. Greece was giving way to one based on money and commodities, while Celan's life spanned pre- and post-Holocaust worlds, and he himself, writing in German, became estranged from his native language. Carson goes on to consider various aspects of the two poets' techniques for coming to grips with the invisible through the visible world. A focus on the genre of the epitaph grants insights into the kinds of exchange the poets envision between the living and the dead. Assessing the impact on Simonidean composition of the material fact of inscription on stone, Carson suggests that a need for brevity influenced the exactitude and clarity of Simonides' style, and proposes a comparison with Celan's interest in the "negative design" of printmaking: both poets, though in different ways, employ a kind of negative image making, cutting away all that is superfluous. This book's juxtaposition of the two poets illuminates their differences--Simonides' fundamental faith in the power of the word, Celan's ultimate despair--as well as their similarities; it provides fertile ground for the virtuosic interplay of Carson's scholarship and her poetic sensibility.

Synopsis:

"This is a remarkable, gripping, and moving book, itself a kind of extended prose poem, crafted by Carson between the excerpts of the two poets and her amazing readings and juxtapositions thereof. Like all of Carson's writing, it is sui generis, combining meticulous scholarship with the sensibility and style of a poet. I have always felt it was a privilege simply to be allowed to read Carson's work, and this manuscript is perhaps the best thing she has done."--Leslie Kurke, University of California, Berkeley

Synopsis:

The ancient Greek lyric poet Simonides of Keos was the first poet in the Western tradition to take money for poetic composition. From this starting point, Anne Carson launches an exploration, poetic in its own right, of the idea of poetic economy. She offers a reading of certain of Simonides' texts and aligns these with writings of the modern Romanian poet Paul Celan, a Jew and survivor of the Holocaust, whose "economies" of language are notorious. Asking such questions as, What is lost when words are wasted? and Who profits when words are saved? Carson reveals the two poets' striking commonalities.

In Carson's view Simonides and Celan share a similar mentality or disposition toward the world, language and the work of the poet. Economy of the Unlost begins by showing how each of the two poets stands in a state of alienation between two worlds. In Simonides' case, the gift economy of fifth-century b.c. Greece was giving way to one based on money and commodities, while Celan's life spanned pre- and post-Holocaust worlds, and he himself, writing in German, became estranged from his native language. Carson goes on to consider various aspects of the two poets' techniques for coming to grips with the invisible through the visible world. A focus on the genre of the epitaph grants insights into the kinds of exchange the poets envision between the living and the dead. Assessing the impact on Simonidean composition of the material fact of inscription on stone, Carson suggests that a need for brevity influenced the exactitude and clarity of Simonides' style, and proposes a comparison with Celan's interest in the "negative design" of printmaking: both poets, though in different ways, employ a kind of negative image making, cutting away all that is superfluous. This book's juxtaposition of the two poets illuminates their differences--Simonides' fundamental faith in the power of the word, Celan's ultimate despair--as well as their similarities; it provides fertile ground for the virtuosic interplay of Carson's scholarship and her poetic sensibility.

About the Author

Anne Carson is a poet, essayist and scholar of classics who lives in Montreal. Her first book, Eros the Bittersweet: An Essay (Princeton), has recently been reissued by The Dalkey Archive. Her most recent book, Autobiography of Red: A Novel in Verse (Knopf), was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Poetry.

Table of Contents

Note on Method vii

PROLOGUE False Sail 3

CHAPTER I Vienation 10

CHAPTER II Visibles Invisibles 45

CHAPTER III Epitaphs 73

CHAPTER IV Negation 100

EPILOGUE All Candled Things 120

Bibliography 135

Index 145

Product Details

ISBN:
9780691091754
Author:
Carson, Anne
Publisher:
Princeton University Press
Location:
Princeton, N.J.
Subject:
General
Subject:
Poetry
Subject:
Aesthetics
Subject:
Literature, comparative
Subject:
Economics in literature
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Comparative Literature
Subject:
History & Criticism *
Subject:
Literary Criticism : General
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Series:
Martin Classical Lectures
Series Volume:
no. 1996/050
Publication Date:
February 2002
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
College/higher education:
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
160
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in 9 oz

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Poetry » Criticism and Discussion
History and Social Science » World History » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » General
Humanities » Literary Criticism » Poetry Criticism

Economy of the Unlost (Reading Simonides of Keos with Paul C (Martin Classical Lectures) New Trade Paper
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Product details 160 pages Princeton University Press - English 9780691091754 Reviews:
"Synopsis" by , "This is a remarkable, gripping, and moving book, itself a kind of extended prose poem, crafted by Carson between the excerpts of the two poets and her amazing readings and juxtapositions thereof. Like all of Carson's writing, it is sui generis, combining meticulous scholarship with the sensibility and style of a poet. I have always felt it was a privilege simply to be allowed to read Carson's work, and this manuscript is perhaps the best thing she has done."--Leslie Kurke, University of California, Berkeley
"Synopsis" by , The ancient Greek lyric poet Simonides of Keos was the first poet in the Western tradition to take money for poetic composition. From this starting point, Anne Carson launches an exploration, poetic in its own right, of the idea of poetic economy. She offers a reading of certain of Simonides' texts and aligns these with writings of the modern Romanian poet Paul Celan, a Jew and survivor of the Holocaust, whose "economies" of language are notorious. Asking such questions as, What is lost when words are wasted? and Who profits when words are saved? Carson reveals the two poets' striking commonalities.

In Carson's view Simonides and Celan share a similar mentality or disposition toward the world, language and the work of the poet. Economy of the Unlost begins by showing how each of the two poets stands in a state of alienation between two worlds. In Simonides' case, the gift economy of fifth-century b.c. Greece was giving way to one based on money and commodities, while Celan's life spanned pre- and post-Holocaust worlds, and he himself, writing in German, became estranged from his native language. Carson goes on to consider various aspects of the two poets' techniques for coming to grips with the invisible through the visible world. A focus on the genre of the epitaph grants insights into the kinds of exchange the poets envision between the living and the dead. Assessing the impact on Simonidean composition of the material fact of inscription on stone, Carson suggests that a need for brevity influenced the exactitude and clarity of Simonides' style, and proposes a comparison with Celan's interest in the "negative design" of printmaking: both poets, though in different ways, employ a kind of negative image making, cutting away all that is superfluous. This book's juxtaposition of the two poets illuminates their differences--Simonides' fundamental faith in the power of the word, Celan's ultimate despair--as well as their similarities; it provides fertile ground for the virtuosic interplay of Carson's scholarship and her poetic sensibility.

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