Given that many people have little idea of how those of former times viewed themselves or their cultural worlds, is it indeed possible for modern readers to relate to an art form and a cultural perspective that is so utterly foreign to postindustrial and postmodern reality? Should we even try to read “The Seafarer” from the original audience’s point of view? If this seems impossible, then how should we read this poem? Can we read it any way we wish using reader’s response?
Since “The Seafarer” constitutes a form of lyric poetry called elegy—that is, a private...
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