Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. i-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-x

In preparing this book I have gained much from previous studies of Roethke's poetry, particularly Karl Malkoff's Theodore Roethke: An Introduction to the Poetry (1966) and Richard A. Blessing's Theodore Roethke's Dynamic Vision (1974). Beatrice Roethke Lushington and the staff of...

Contents

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pp. xi-xiv

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Introduction

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pp. 3-6

Ever since the publication of these words of T. S. Eliot in his "Tradition and the Individual Talent" (1919), critics have taken an increasing interest in the relationship between modern poetry and the works of the past toward...

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I. Conscious Imitation

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pp. 7-23

He figured the relationship between modern poets and past poets as an "ancient feud," and felt that he would not be able to create poetry until he had somehow vanquished his...

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II. Sympathetic Imitation

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pp. 24-50

"At a time like ours . . . ," T. S. Eliot has written, "we are inclined . . . to exaggerate the importance of the innovators at the expense of the reputation of the developers."1 Nearly all of the critics who reviewed...

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III. A Widening Sensibility

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pp. 51-83

The titles of all six poems in Part ι of Praise to the End! derive from the expanding sense of a literary heritage that Roethke was beginning to make his own.1 Some have mistaken this eclecticism for...

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IV. Archetypes of Tradition

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pp. 84-103

Sooner or later in almost every lengthy study of Theodore Roethke the name C. G. Jung appears. At first he is introduced tentatively with footnotes explaining that "the precise extent and nature" of Roethke's reading...

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V. A Motion Not His Own

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pp. 104-125

As Roethke nears the end of his "sequence of dramatic pieces beginning with a small child and working up,"1 he looks back over what he has done: thus the images in "Unfold! Unfold!" rather than alluding...

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VI. Meditations

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pp. 126-140

As we have seen, Roethke is finally most original when he is most imitative, almost always returning to another poet as much as he has received from him. What is often difficult to determine exactly, however...

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VII. A Storm of Correspondences

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pp. 141-164

In Meditations of an Old Woman (1958), Roethke clearly expands his sense of tradition. He places his poems within the context of two genres—the dramatic monologue and the meditation—and brings together a creative...

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Afterword

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pp. 165-168

Just as Roethke related his poems to specific works rather than to abstract concepts of style, he saw his literary tradition not as a series of periods but as a community of selected individual talents, somehow in touch with one...

Index

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pp. 169-177