Thursday, October 28, 2010

Miltonic Allusion in Kill Bill: What is Miltonic Allusion, part 3

Just an epilogue-y thing about the leaves. A passage of Ashbery and a quote by Bloom at his most ... Bloom-y.


out of night the token emerges
its leaves like birds alighting all at once under a tree
taken up and shaken again
put down in weak rage
knowing as the brain does it can never come about
not here not yesterday in the gap of today filling itself
as emptiness is distributed
in the idea of what time it is
when that time is already past

Bloom says "Ashbery’s finest achievement, to date, is his heroic and perpetual self-defeat, which is of a kind appropriate to conclude this book, since such self-defeat pioneers in undoing the mode of transumption that Stevens helped revive. Ashbery’s allusiveness is transumptive rather than conspicuous, but he employs it against itself, as though determined to make of his lateness a desperate cheerfulness. In the final stanza of As You Came From the Holy Land, the most characteristic of Shelleyan-Stevensian metaphors, the fiction of the leaves, is duly revealed as a failure (‘taken up and shaken again / put down in weak rage'); but the metalepsis substituted for it is almost a hyperbole of failure, as presence and the present fall together ‘in the gap of today filling itself / as emptiness is distributed.’ The two lines ending the poem would be an outrageous parody of the transumptive mode if their sad dignity were not so intense. Ashbery is too noble and poetically intelligent to subside into a parodist of time’s revenges."

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