"An Analytical and Critical Assessment of the Major Poems of Archibald MacLeish" byAshraf Said Qutb Metwally
This thesis is divided into three chapters, the first is intended to highlight the biography of MacLeish and indicate the major influences on his poetry, like the influence of his mother and the atmosphere he was brought up in. Archibald MacLeish (1892- 1982) was one of the most remarkable Americans of his own time who undertook and mastered more than half a dozen of careers: he was a lawyer, journalist, librarian of Congress, assistant secretary of state and a spokesman of the republic, teacher, playwright, and above all a poet. He has won three Pulitzer prizes, and is perhaps the only American to have been awarded both the National Medal for literature and the Presidential Medal of Freedom. His life is driven by two powerful and sometimes competing goals: he wanted to write great poetry, and wanted to advance great causes. Behind his accomplishments lay the genetic and environmental influence of MacLeish's heritage: his father and his mother; a father who never paid any attention to the lad as well as to his siblings, and a mother who actually brought them up.
The second chapter focuses on the major early poems of Archibald MacLeish or what can be labeled as the private world of Archibald MacLeish's poetry; private with the meaning of a rather subjective undertone coloring his point of view and treatment of the area under discussion. In many early volumes of his poetry, MacLeish's treatment of his subjects revolved mainly around personal topics concerning his life and the life of people around him. This chapter concentrates on the poems he wrote during the period of full commitment to poetry in which he traveled to France along with his wife and his two young children. The poetry of this period is characterized by its aesthetic approach concentrating mostly on the personal state of the poet with a tinge of universal philosophy giving it its coloring. Themes like love, loss, loneliness, uncertainty, doubt, and so on are the most likely to be seen in the poetry of this period. This chapter also discusses his interest in verse forms, like the sonnet, which sustained his interest for a period.His work shows he was interested in the formal aspects of poetry. Every cited poem is analyzed and commente a modd on adoptingerate aPnd objective approach. The major linking point among the poems of this chapter is the poet's personal and subjective coloring that is dominant all over. Though they lack sharp vision and objective treatment, these poems approach perfectibility. In fact it is the poems mentioned in this chapter that MacLeish is best known and remembered for. The reader finds poems like "Arse Poetica", "You, Andrew Marvell", " "Memorial Rain", "Eleven" and so many of his perfect lyrics.
The third chapter discusses the major longer poems of MacLeish, focusing on the public world of his poetry. The period of MacLeish's public service forms the basic touchstone on which these poems are tested. In this period he devoted himself and all his energies to the service of the United States. He adopted the literary motto of "Art for the sake of life" as a creed to monitor what he achieved through this period. Here we see how the poet passed through obvious changes in everything except his faith in America. Once he returned from France, he devoted himself to the public service, luckily this new attitude accompanied the presidential period of Roosevelt who had great confidence in MacLeish and assigned a dozen elegant jobs to him. This inflamed the competent poet and made him direct his writing to that cause whether in poetry, in drama or in journalism. His poetry began to be oriented toward the public issues of his fellow-citizens during one of the most difficult periods in the history of mankind; the period of The Great Depression. He took as a conviction to treat in poetry what other writers treated in prose, drama, and journalism. Whatever MacLeish wrote during this period was tinged with the flavor of the public issues to the point that a number of critics alleged that politics spoilt the poet inside MacLeish as it left him neither time, nor neutrality essential for poetry writing.
Influenced by T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound, MacLeish wrote his poem "Conquistador" in the belief that he was going even further than Pound in finding that new form which would fix the released language of modernism. In so doing, he seemed to have wanted to liberate modernism itself from what he thought was its simple posture of reaction against the past.
For MacLeish, the "New World" needed a poetry that would be sympathetic to the average humanity and to the common values of democracy. The voice of this poetry had to be centered on down-to-earth experience, what he referred to as “the common, simple, earth-ridding ways of hands and feet and flesh against the enormous mysteries of sun and moon.” The appearance of “Conquistador” at that time leads one to see that, for MacLeish, these new necessities pointed to epic poetry as the great poetic labor of the new age.
MacLeish concentrates on the communal values; that is why he chose the epic form to cast his narrative into. Epic speaks for the accepted patriotic ideals or for the accepted metaphysics of the times. The epic poet is centered in the normal. He must speak for, as well as to, his people. His sentiments must not seem capricious or private. It is maintained in The Continuity of American Poetry(1939) that Walt Whitman, Ezra Pound, William Carlos Williams and Hart Crane failed to create “true epics though they created poems of great magnitude, because as Americans and as moderns they could not believe in communal heroes and consequently had to fall back on themselves as heroes”(133-34).
"Conquistador" sets out to designate the average man as the proper voice of the community. This is apparent if one examines MacLeish's use of his primary source; Bernal Diaz del Castillo's The Discovery and Conquest of New Spain. Originally an officer under Cortes' in the conquest, Diaz decided to write his own history after reading another "official" account written by Cortes former chaplain; Gomara. What disturbed Diaz was Gomara's exclusive attention to the leaders and the important events, and the ignorance of the average soldier. In his preface, Diaz observes that although his own account of the conquest is not an authoritative history, it will have a value of its own; it will offer another perspective on contemporary history.
Representation of Human Issues in Fornes's Theatre
By Heba Subhy
Maria Irene Fornes is a contemporary American playwright. Fornes is now classified among the world's celebrated brilliant contemporary playwrights. She has won a particular position in the American theater as she is the author of more than forty works for the stage. She has won nine Obies granted byThe Village Voice for her off off –Broadway plays. Social and racial differences between the poor and the rich, physical and verbal struggle among human beings are also presented in her plays. FromTango Palace, Fornes has gone on to write over forty plays.
In the later stage, however, the portrayal of the human issues has been significantly developed. One can find that the form of her plays is entirely untraditional which can be seen for example in a play likeVietnamese Wedding in her early stage and Fefu and her friends in her later stage. It is worth mentioning that Fornes has been well influenced by Brecht's ideology and technique.
Fornes was amongst the Off-Off Broadway artists who mixed at venues such as the Judson Poet's Theatre, La MaMa, and the Café Cino. Fornes worked with dramatists like Ed Bullins, Rosalyn Drexler, Adrienne Kennedy, Rochelle Owens, Sam Sheppard and Megan Terry to create New York Theatre Strategy, a space where playwrights could test out their ideas and have control over their work. Fefu presents a group of women gathering to discuss an education project, and as with her other plays, it is concerned with characters seriously seeking some greater understanding of their lives. The play has come to be recognized as an innovative and important American play and continues to be one of Fornes's most produced works. The staged interiors of her plays have a characteristic elegance and simplicity.
Among the most influential groups were Joseph Chaikin's Open Theatre, whose method has influenced Fornes greatly, and Julian Beck's and Judith Malina's Living Theatre. Second, experimental theater has offered them new forms of expression they wished to accomplish. No doubt that working with many directors has developed Fornes’s aesthetic attitude to produce more creative work. Fornes admits that her writing has radically changed after learning the American method. Joining Open Theater, an experimental theatre group active from 1963 to 1973, is a vital step in her career as a playwright. The objective of this thematic and technical study is to present and analyze Maria Irene Fornes's deep human issues in her published plays from 1963 to 1985 in the light of the experimental theatre. Full analysis is presented in certain selected plays to highlight her dominant features in both stages; each chapter includes some main issues and sub issues.
Chapter One, "Early Stage", displays the human issues in two selected plays; Tango Palace in 1963 andPromenade in 1965; many other plays are excluded in this stage. Promenade is another musical comedy which represents many human issues satirically. Chapter Two, "Later Stage", discusses her thematic development and examines the difference in her style. Moreover, as a wide debate among critics has taken place concerning whether Fornes is a feminist or not, the chapter discusses this matter.
Chapter Three thoroughly tackles her innovative technique in both stages in the selected plays in chapters one and two with a special focus on Fefu and Her Friends. Off-Off-Broadway refers to theatrical productions including plays, musicals or performance art pieces performed in New York Cityin smaller theatres than Broadway productions or off-Broadway productions.
Sense of Place in Selected Novels
of Patrick White and David Malouf
By Lamees Mohamed Mohamed
The aim of this study is to highlight the sense of place in some Australian novels. Similarly, a sense of place would refer to the way in which people experience and feel about the enfolded meanings, activities and landscapes. Sense of place is not simply the sentimental response to a particular place that people might have, it includes a growing sense of what the place demands of us in our attitudes and actions.
There are many reasons why there has been resurgence in interest in sense of place in Australia recently. It is important to notice that the Australian literature is a postcolonial one, and a major feature of postcolonial literatures is the concern with place. The two novelists are Patrick white and David Malouf.
White comes from a pioneering Australian family who owned a large sheep farm, although he was born in London. Voss sets out to conquer distance; instead, he conquers himself. The novel was the first of White's novels to be set in his imagined town, Sarsaparilla, and deals with the Australian identity after World War II. White was always interested in the mythology of the search of the sense of the existence. For White, a relationship is the foundation of individual identity. Australia cannot borrow its cultural and spiritual light from Europe. Malouf was born in Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. Malouf's sense of place appears through his focus on exile, alienation and the stranger, which appear clearly in his two novels: An Imaginary Life (1978) and Remembering Babylon (1993).
In Remembering Babylon, the reaction of an early white settlement in Australia to the arrival of a white man who has lived for years among Aborigines tells us much about Australian character and Australian social identity. As in Patrick white's Voss, the first lines of the opening page of RememberingBabylon construct the arrival of the stranger, integral to post-colonial writing. The arrival of Gemmy, the stranger, is the central device in the novel, as white responses to Gemmy reveal both white "pre-knowledge" of Aborigines and the nature of white community and political identity.
Both characters of Malouf's world, Gemmy and Ovid, occupy a double edged position. In Voss, the explorer, as Laura tells Voss is "pure will". The Aboriginal theme is subsumed by White’s exploration of cosmic illumination through isolation and rejection.
In Malouf's novels, the motif of the social edge is personified by socially neglected or marginalized people as in Remembering Babylon and An Imaginary Life. One path towards answers in David Malouf's novels can be characterized by the operation of opposing pairs like Australia vs. Europe, edge vs. centre, nature vs. culture, self vs. other.
The theme of "sense of place" can be identified as the element that sets the sad, often tragic, undertone that permeates the novels of Patrick White and David Malouf.