402 / VICTORIAN POETRY the time of his second monologue, Thompson’s discussion of the poem’s comic and tragic effects provides a useful starting place for critical reflec- tion and for comparison to other nineteenth-century texts. On a com- pletely different note Stephen Brown reflects on Pound’s Cantos and Sordello (“Preparing the Palette” Paideuma 30 : 217-221), describing Pound’s notion of writing as “displacement,” an attempt to show what has been said before, an effort to “illustrate the impossibility of originality” (p. 220). What’s left for Pound, Brown argues, is to “say it’s all been said before” (p. 220). No less than successive poets are critics faced with the prospect of saying what has been said before. As I look back over the last decade of Browning criticism, most of it reviewed in these pages, I am struck by two themes about which the less said the better. We have heard enough, I think, about truth and history or the ring metaphor and truth in The Ring and the Book. And I at least have had enough of subjective and objective poetry as an adequate paradigm for understanding Browning’s art. If students and critics sidestepped these themes perhaps they might
Victorian Poetry – West Virginia University Press
Published: Dec 16, 2003
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