In Parenthesis

ISBN-10: 1590170369

ISBN-13: 9781590170366

Edition: 2003

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Description: "This writing has to do with some things I saw, felt, and was part of": with quiet modesty, David Jones begins a work that is among the most powerful imaginative efforts to grapple with the carnage of the First World War, a book celebrated by W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot as one of the masterpieces of modern literature. Fusing poetry and prose, gutter talk and high music, wartime terror and ancient myth, Jones, who served as an infantryman on the Western Front, presents a picture at once panoramic and intimate of a world of interminable waiting and unforeseen death. And yet throughout he remains alert to the flashes of humanity that light up the wasteland of war.

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Book details

List price: $15.95
Copyright year: 2003
Publisher: New York Review of Books, Incorporated, The
Publication date: 7/31/2003
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 272
Size: 5.00" wide x 8.00" long x 0.50" tall
Weight: 0.550
Language: English

David Jones did not publish his first book of poetry until his forties. Although he was born in Kent, his Welsh father instilled in him a love for the culture of Wales that pervades his work. At first Jones intended to be an artist, and he left grammar school for Camberwell School of Art. With the outbreak of war, he enlisted in the Royal Welsh Fusiliers (Robert Graves served as an officer in the same regiment) and served in Flanders and France. After the war, he completed his education and began a successful artistic career, during which he became perhaps best known as an engraver and watercolorist. Immersed in legend, myth, and romance, he held that humans are fundamentally religious. His own religious beliefs led him to convert to Roman Catholicism in 1921. Although W. B. Yeats saluted his first book, Jones stood apart from the literary mainstream of his day, despite obvious debts to the methods of Ezra Pound, T. S. Eliot, and James Joyce. His first volume, In Parenthesis (1937), combines both poetry and prose in chronicling the wartime career of its major figure, John Ball. His even more ambitious second book, The Anathemata: Fragments of an Attempted Writing (1952), uses the structure of the Tridentine Mass to chronicle the history of Britain from early geological times through preindustrial London. Some of its techniques of presentation and counterparting of myths and factual materials resemble Pound's Cantos. W. H. Auden judged it the best modern long poem in English. The later works The Tribune's Visitation and The Sleeping Lord (1974) deal with the Roman Empire in the time of Jesus. Readers will appreciate Jones's inclusion of his own notes to his difficult, allusive verse.

Poet W. S. Merwin (William Stanley Merwin) was born on September 30, 1927 in New York City. He attended Princeton University. He has authored over fifteen books of poetry and some of those titles include "The River Sound" (Alfred A. Knopf, 1999), which was named a New York Times notable book of the year; "The Vixen" (1996), which won the Lenore Marshall Poetry Prize; "The Carrier of Ladders" (1970), which won the Pulitzer Prize; and "A Mask for Janus" (1952), which was selected by W. H. Auden for the Yale Series of Younger Poets. Merwin won a second Pulitzer Prize for Poetry for The Shadow of Sirius (published in 2008). He has also published books of translation, which include Dante's Purgatorio, numerous plays and books of prose. Some of Merwin's honors include the Aiken Taylor Award for Modern American Poetry, the Bollingen Prize, the Governor's Award for Literature of the State of Hawaii, the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize, the PEN Translation Prize, the Shelley Memorial Award, the first Tanning Prize and a Lila Wallace-Reader's Digest Writers' Award. He also received fellowships from the Academy of American Poets, the Guggenheim Foundation, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Rockefeller Foundation and a Ford Foundation Grant. He is a Chancellor of The Academy of American Poets and received a five-year term as judge of the Yale Series of Younger Poets.

T. S. Eliot is considered by many to be a literary genius and one of the most influential men of letters during the half-century after World War I. He was born on September 26, 1888, in St. Louis, Missouri. Eliot attended Harvard University, with time abroad pursuing graduate studies at the Sorbonne, Marburg, and Oxford. The outbreak of World War I prevented his return to the United States, and, persuaded by Ezra Pound to remain in England, he decided to settle there permanently. He published his influential early criticism, much of it written as occasional pieces for literary periodicals. He developed such doctrines as the "dissociation of sensibility" and the "objective correlative" and elaborated his views on wit and on the relation of tradition to the individual talent. Eliot by this time had left his early, derivative verse far behind and had begun to publish avant-garde poetry (including "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" (1915), which exploited fresh rhythms, abrupt juxtapositions, contemporary subject matter, and witty allusion. This period of creativity also resulted in another collection of verse (including "Gerontian") and culminated in The Waste Land, a masterpiece published in 1922 and produced partly during a period of psychological breakdown while married to his wife, Vivienne Haigh-Wood Eliot. In 1922, Eliot became a director of the Faber & Faber publishing house, and in 1927 he became a British citizen and joined the Church of England. Thereafter, his career underwent a change. With the publication of Ash Wednesday in 1930, his poetry became more overtly Christian. As editor of the influential literary magazine The Criterion, he turned his hand to social as well as literary criticism, with an increasingly conservative orientation. His religious poetry culminated in Four Quartets, published individually from 1936 onward and collectively in 1943. This work is often considered to be his greatest poetic achievement. Eliot also wrote poetry in a much lighter vein, such as Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats (1939), a collection that was used during the early 1980s as the basis for the musical, Cats. In addition to his contributions in poetry and criticism, Eliot is the pivotal verse dramatist of this century. He followed the lead of William Butler Yeats in attempting to revive metrical language in the theater. But, unlike Yeats, Eliot wanted a dramatic verse that would be self-effacing, capable of expressing the most prosaic passages in a play, and an insistent, undetected presence capable of elevating itself at a moment's notice. His progression from the pageant The Rock (1934) and Murder in the Cathedral (1935), written for the Canterbury Festival, through The Family Reunion (1939) and The Cocktail Party (1949), a West End hit, was thus a matter of neutralizing obvious poetic effects and bringing prose passages into the flow of verse. Recent critics have seen Eliot as a divided figure, covertly attracted to the very elements (romanticism, personality, heresy) he overtly condemned. His early attacks on romantic poets, for example, often reveal him as a romantic against the grain. The same divisions carry over into his verse, where violence struggles against restraint, emotion against order, and imagination against ironic detachment. This Eliot is more human and more attractive to contemporary taste. During his lifetime, Eliot received many honors and awards, including the Nobel Prize for literature in 1948.

Foreword
A Note of Introduction
Preface
The many men so beautiful
Chambers go off, corporals stay
Starlight order
King Pellam's Launde
Squat garlands for White Knights
Pavilions and Captains of Hundreds
The five unmistakable marks
Notes
General Notes
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7
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