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Navigating in Perilous Seas of Language: In Memoriam and "the Wreck of the Deutschland" (Report)

Victorian Poetry 2009, Summer, 47, 2

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In narrating the voyages of ships, poems often allude metaphorically to the progress of their own composition. The dangers threatening the ships suggest a risk that the poem may break off before reaching the desired port. Sometimes, as when the frail boat approaches a whirlpool in Shelley's Alastor, the impending shipwreck elicits dramatic suspense: Fortunately "a wandering stream of wind, / Breathed from the west" (ll. 397-398) catches the sail and conducts the boat to safety. The breath in such cases is that of a happy inspiration, the "correspondent breeze" that operates so frequently in Romantic poetry as a secular equivalent of the divine breath or spirit. (2) But the inspiration does not always arrive, and some poems have drowned in the inebriating element that "Le Bateau ivre" of Rimbaud terms "the Poem of the Sea":

Navigating in Perilous Seas of Language: In Memoriam and "the Wreck of the Deutschland" (Report)
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  • 2,99 €
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Language Arts & Disciplines
  • Published: 22 June 2009
  • Publisher: West Virginia University Press, University of West Virginia
  • Print Length: 44 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

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