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Canadians on the Verge of Nervous Breakdowns (not me!)


There’s a very impressive piece on Cerebus waiting for you at Long Story, Short Pier. If you have any interest at all in Mr. Sim’s opus, I humbly suggest that you check it out!

Anyone care about “nature poetry”?

Here’s the intro to my Archibald Lampman essay– “Disordered by ‘Personality’ (“Personality” is a poem): Lampman, Emerson, and the Limits of Impressionism”

Richard Arnold claims to discern, in the works of Archibald Lampman, a “transcendental-visionary development” which culminates in a “frightening, direct vision of nature and human nature” (33). Arnold’s essay constructs a model for understanding Lampman’s career as a prolonged “wilderness retreat” in which the poet sharpened his mind to an existentialist point by chipping away at the pantheistic excrescences that marred his juvenilia. Along the way, the author takes egregious liberties with the works of Ralph Waldo Emerson, a strategy which, conscious or not, enables him to obscure a central fact about all “nature poetry” after Wordsworth—namely that the genre is more accurately described as a literature of the “self-in-nature” (or, the self abstracted from society), and, as such, is almost predestined to express wild oscillations between moods of exultation and despair. Lampman is no exception to this rule—the themes of communion and alienation coexist in his work from the start and carry on in lockstep for the rest of his life. Lampman’s very real philosophical development did not result, as Arnold would have it, from the adoption of a skeptical stance toward the idea of divine immanence, but rather from the visceral discovery that “Nature”, hitherto merely an “aid to reflection”, could actually return the poet’s gaze—unimpressed by his impressionism.

See ya later friends!

Dave

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