Abstract

Recent scholars have noted the anti-consolatory trend in modern elegy, and remarked on the ways in which twentieth-century elegies revolt against the convention of compensatory consolation in their expression of disconsolation. Using Wallace Stevens's "The Owl in the Sarcophagus" as a test case, this essay proposes a rethinking of our notion of elegiac consolation: instead of reading this allegorical, equivocating poem as an anti-elegy, this article argues, with the aid of D. W. Winnicott's object-relation theory, that the poem's consolation is based less on the mechanism of compensation than on the cryptonymic process of placing an unplaced feeling of loss.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1080-6547
Print ISSN
0013-8304
Pages
pp. 45-70
Launched on MUSE
2010-03-14
Open Access
No
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