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Negative Spring

Crisis Imagery in the Works of Brentano, Lenau, Rilke, and T.S. Eliot

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David B. Dickens

Symbolic statement in poetry assumes many forms, from readily understood «open» symbols to private or «closed» ones with highly personal meanings. «Negative spring,» the poet's rejection of what has traditionally been a joyous time of year, makes such a personal statement. This book examines a number of examples of negative spring; it seeks to locate the sources of the attitude, to examine its implications, and to establish its reliability as an indicator of crisis or despair. Closer examination of it in the work of Clemens Brentano and T.S. Eliot discloses many suggestive and even surprising parallels.
Contents: 17th-century origins of «negative spring»; its appearance in works by Brentano, Lenau, Rilke, and T. S. Eliot. Is there a conscious tradition behind the attitude or are similar formulations in various poets' works merely similar subconscious responses? This book is the first to examine this attitude in depth and to regard it as more than isolated individual phenomena.