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The dark house of E.A. Robinson : psychological themes in the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson.


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Harrex, SC 1961 , 'The dark house of E.A. Robinson : psychological themes in the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson.', Unspecified thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The "tremendous force of analogy", with which Henry aims achieved
confrontation of fissured aspects of personality and of culture
"in the depths of the house, of the past, of that mystical other
world that might have flourished", is conspicuous in the poetry
of Edwin Arlington Robinson. It is more than the mere dynamic
of image-making, which characterises much poetry of the present
age. It is infused in Robinson's attitude to life, his
psychological realism, his implied values, and his primary
symbols. Like the sailor in "Lost Anchors", the poet made of
his 'legend' 'a manifest Analogy.' (p.578)
The Robinsonian Analogy is a predominantly psychological
structure proportioned according to the poet's main interest -
human nature - and essential aim - inferential disclosure of
inner realities. It is a dark house in which the occupants
live and die psychic lives and psychic deaths. It is not unlike
James' "house on the jolly corner", the archetypal analogy of
man and house of which Spencer Brydon, the central character in
"The jolly Corner", becomes so acutely aware in the time of his
spiritual crisis: "The quaint analogy quite hauntingly remained with him,
when he didn't indeed rather improve it by a still
intenser form : that of his opening a door behind which
he would have made sure of finding nothing, a door into
a room shuttered and void, and yet so coming, with a
great suppressed start, on some quite erect confronting
presence, something planted in the middle of the place
and facing him through the dusk."
The house symbolism and the "alter-ego" situation depicted
in "The jolly Corner" are comparable to Robinsan's poetic
postulates, the significance of which are more clearly perceived
in terms of psychological analogies.
Psychoanalysis has drawn attention to the ontogenetic and
phylogenetic significance of house symbolism. James and Robinson
found the symbol to be a convenient means of expressing psychic
dilemma and of depicting, in plausible images, aspects of the
unconscious life. A man wanders through the darkness of his
house, opening and closing "mortal', 'inner', 'wrong' or 'forgotten'
doors (as the poet variously describes them), in quest of identity,
in search of his soul. 'This treacherous and imperfect house
of man' (p.1028), the poet describes him on one occasion. He
may be, like Brydon, on the "threshold" of self—realisation or,
like Avon in Avon' s Harvest, on the edge of doom. He may, like
Nightingale in The Glory of the Nightingales, erect a pretentious
mansion on a foundation of evil and guilt ; or, like Bartholow
in Roman Bartholow, finally escape his 'ancestral prison'. Mere are still some gods to please,
And houses are built without hands, we're told." (p.48)
Penn-Raven tells Bartholow that his "dreams have taken" him
"far from home" (p.819) ; gives the example of a man, who
"Sure that his house that was not made with hands
Was built forever, was too sure to see;" (p.820)
and later observes that "Negation is a careless architect." (p.826)
Matthias heeds similar warnings of his own "inner voice",
actually a projection phantasy, and at the end prepares to
restore the 'tower' of 'self'. Be learns, like Brydon, that:
"the development of personality moans more than the mere fear
of bringing monsters into the world, or the fear of isolation.
It also means fidelity to the law of one's being."
The more mature of Robinson 's characters share Brydonls
psychologically "prodigious journey" and experience "a sensation
more complex than had ever before found itself consistent with
sanity", while the more unhappy representatives of human
psychology, of whom Avon is the most conclusive example, are
destroyed in the "rage of personality"...
"the stranger, whoever he might be, evil, odious, blatant,
vulgar, had advanced as for aggression, and he knew
himself give ground.. Then harder pressed still, sick
with the force of his shock, and falling back as under the
hot breath and the roused passion of a life larger
than his own, a rage of personality before which
his own collapsed, he felt the whole vision
turn to darkness and his very feet give way." The vision turned to darkness, the struggle upward for the
light, in the 'buried' rooms of the dark house ... such is
the psychology, such the parable, such the 'manifest Analogy',
of Edwin Arlington Robinson's poetry.

Item Type: Thesis - Unspecified
Authors/Creators:Harrex, SC
Keywords: Robinson, Edwin Arlington, 1869-1935
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 1961 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1962

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