Abstract

Although James Schuyler’s poems are often understood as celebrations of ordinary experience, this essay argues that some longer lyrics point to the uncanny and dangerous potential of ordinary language. By distinguishing between the use of literary and non-literary speech — the latter often signaled by quoted or spoken voices within the poems themselves — Schuyler’s poems suggest how the ordinary can suppress urgent social and political dimensions of experience. For this reason, this essay also argues that Schuyler’s work is significantly more politically engaged than it is sometimes given credit for being. Finally, the essay demonstrates that Schuyler’s orientation toward the ordinary shares more with Continental, and less with Pragmatist, ideas of ordinariness.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1529-1464
Print ISSN
0022-281X
Pages
pp. 106-127
Launched on MUSE
2011-07-21
Open Access
No
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