Fables of the Self: Studies in Lyric Poetry (Hardcover)
Studies in Lyric Poetry
W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393066135, 343pp.
Publication Date: September 17, 2008
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Fables of the Self traces ideas of imagined selfhood through the lyric poetry of classical Greece and Rome, the modernist poetry of France, and modern and contemporary English and American lyrics. Rosanna Warren's work emerges from the tradition of British and American poet-critics such as William Empson, Donald Davie, and Randall Jarrell. Her readings of Sappho, Virgil, Baudelaire, Melville, Rimbaud, Mark Strand, and Louise Gluck, among others, combine Helen Vendler's passionate attention to detail and something of Harold Bloom's panoramic view. Warren opposes both the literalizing, autobiographical approach to self in so-called confessional poetry and the other extreme of avant-garde erasures of self. Framing her critical studies between a memoir of childhood and a concluding journal entry, Warren has composed an occult autobiography, showing the imagination as a transfiguring and potentially moral force.