rhetoric in pre-modern poetry


Good morning! What a day we had yesterday! Wonderful stuff from almost
everyone. (Don't feel you have to keep up with every last message, but do
*try*.... And pick and choose your moments of response. Feel free, too, to
write Shawn and/or me individually, too, if you have questions or want to
respond but not to the whole group.)

Below (1) Alberto aptly quoting Emma Lazarus, (2) Jennifer nicely praising
Lazarus as better in this style than Markham, and (3) my comment.

"Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breath
free." It occurs to me that these words seem Markhamish. Lofty diction,
heroic tone, lah-dee-dah sentiments, trying to capture a bleak, tragic
reality.... (Alberto)

I think this actually would be an example of a GOOD use of this style....
(Jennifer Boccia)
I agree with Jennifer that "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled
masses..." is beautiful language--better than Markham's in that style. I
also agree with Alberto that the language is *like* Markham's in the sense
that it strives to be lofty even though it--the language--is meant to
convey something plain, desperately needy, threadbare, etc. This is a key

It is *like* Markham's language in that it uses RHETORIC as its main tool.
Rhetoric as almost more important than (denotative) meaning! The chief
rhetorical aspect is the repetition:

			your tired,
			   your poor,
			     your huddled masses

The imagists (the first modernists we'll study) would argue passionately
(and radically) that ONE of these three would do. And they would contend:
don't repeat merely for rhetorical effect. But obviously the power of the
poem that is inscribed on the State of Liberty welcoming immigrants to the
land of freedom and opportunity is based on such repetitions, such purely
rhetorical use of language.

This issue will lead us nicely (in the next chapter) to Walt Whitman, who,
although in many respects a precursor to modern poetry, loved to use
repetition for purely rhetorical effect--and for some of the same
democratic reasons as Emma Lazarus (and even Edwin Markham, who was a
wildly excited democrat).

Wildly excited...


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