Robert Bly American Literature Analysis
Rejecting the rather bleak view of T. S. Eliot’s The Waste Land (1922), which set the tone for a generation of modernists, and further rejecting the obsessive, confessional writing of others in his own generation, Bly has chosen to write poetry that is inclusive, expansive, and, he believes, conducive to psychic healing. His career seems dedicated to offering opposition to the New Critics and their tendency to separate the artist’s life from the art itself. Bly believes that such separation allows the art to be amoral and destructive—choking its ability to speak in the present tense about the great issues that society faces and will continue to face. For him, the modern desire to take an objective stance, to view the world from a comfortable distance, is dangerous. He has argued, therefore, for an approach to experience that has been called subjectivism—that is, an attempt to do away with the barrier between the subject and the object, to merge the two so that people can once again participate in the world in a more responsible and more spiritual way.
In his collection News of the Universe: Poems of Twofold Consciousness (1980), Bly elucidated his position that one could divide Western literature using the philosopher René Descartes as a marker. Prior to Descartes, according to Bly, Western literature reflected a people whose sensibility was not divided, a people who did not separate themselves from nature or from those elements...
(The entire section is 4275 words.)
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