Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Industrialized Poets Essay Example for Free

Industrialized Poets Essay Edgar Allan Poe, Walter Benjamin, and Arthur Rimbaud all lived in the turbulent 19th Century where the idyllic countryside was giving way to the industrialized world. Their poetry reflects the profound impact industrialization’s onslaught had on the world. Starting from Edgar Allan Poe, to Arthur Rimbaud and finally to Walter Benjamin this paper will discuss the effect of industrialization on their respective worldview vis-à  -vis the situation of the world during their life time. A City in the Sea By Edgar Allan Poe Lo! Death has reared himself a throne In a strange city lying alone Far down within the dim West, Where the good and the bad and the worst and the best Have gone to their eternal rest. There shrines and palaces and towers (Time-eaten towers that tremble not!) Resemble nothing that is ours. Around, by lifting winds forgot, Resignedly beneath the sky The melancholy waters lie. No rays from the holy heaven come down On the long night-time of that town; But light from out the lurid sea Streams up the turrets silently — Gleams up the pinnacles far and free — Up domes — up spires — up kingly halls — Up fanes — up Babylon-like walls — Up shadowy long-forgotten bowers Of sculptured ivy and stone flowers — Up many and many a marvelous shrine Whose wreathà ©d friezes intertwine The viol, the violet, and the vine. So blend the turrets and shadows there That all seem pendulous in the air, While from a proud tower in the town Death looks gigantically down. There open fanes and gaping graves Yawn level with the luminous waves; But not the riches there that lie In each idols diamond eye — Not the gaily-jeweled dead Tempt the waters from their bed; For no ripples curl, alas! Along that wilderness of glass — No swellings tell that winds may be Upon some far-off happier sea — No heavings hint that winds have been On seas less hideously serene. But lo, a stir is in the air! The wave — there is a movement there! As if the towers had thrust aside, In slightly sinking, the dull tide — As if their tops had feebly given A void within the filmy Heaven. The waves have now a redder glow — The hours are breathing faint and low — And when, amid no earthly moans, Down, down that town shall settle hence, Hell, rising from a thousand thrones, Shall do it reverence.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   The setting is in a city in the west ruled by death who is worshiped by all. This set is often quoted or at least used for the crafting of gothic films or at work. Death looks down upon all from his high tower, like Sauron atop Barad-Dur. The city has ‘domes, spires and kingly halls, and fanes and Babylon like walls. The poem makes a rather ironic point because the west has always been associated with good and life and the east with evil and death. For example, in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Trilogy Aragorn is the goodly Lord of the West while the Sauron commands a legion of evil Easterlings.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Poe speaks of a brooding end of days when ‘the waves now have a redder glow, the hours are breathing faint and low.’ The waves turning red as a sign of hells coming because red is the color of fire and hence the color of Hell and the Devil. ‘and when, amid no earthly moans, down, down the tower shall settle hence, Hell rising from a thousand thrones, shall do it reverence. It would appear that the poem speaks of the city of death as if it were superior to Hell. Rather, as if Hell were subordinate and must pay homage. The end is a creepy scene where the Devil expresses gratitude to the devil for allowing him to come and rule the Earth.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   As can be expected of Edgar Allan Poe the setting is dark and brooding. In relation to the modernization being experienced during Poe’s time it is quite possibly a comment on the widening gap between the rich and poor as a result of industrialization, specifically the factory system. Poe lived in the early 19th Century in his time factories were being setup left and right. People were migrating from the provinces to the cities in order to get jobs at the factories because the cottage industries they used to have were no longer viable. Instead they had to move to cities. The cities were grim gothic environs in their own right. Sanitation, Housing, and food were all in short supplies. The cities were dirty, grimy, disease ridden affairs for the vast majority of the rural immigrants. Life was short and dangerous, they lived miserable lives often working in inhuman conditions for factory owners who ruthlessly abused them. Contrast this with the capitalists who owned the factories. The newness of the factory system meant that laws were not yet in place to protect the rights of the workings. Unscrupulous factory owners worked the peasants to the hilt. Fourteen-hour work days and Six-day work weeks were not unknown. Wages were a scandal, with no wage boards or unions to protect them and with the labor being a buyers market most workers had no choice but to accept the poor wages or be unemployed. As a result, the factory owners could become oppressively rich. In fact, in the Victorian era the Nobles and the now-wealthy Capitalists mingled as equals in the lavish parties of the day. Men like Vanderbilt and Astor could afford to build Palatial estates fit for kings quite possibly at the expense of the wretched workers in their factories. In my opinion, aside from his already dark and brooding outlook and writing style, Edgar Allan Poe was inspired to write A City in the sea by his exposure to the factory system. The oppression of the workers vis-à  -vis the extreme privilege of the owner may have further jaded mr. Poe. He would is not the first, and he was certainly not the last to suggest that Hell itself will rise from the City in the Sea. Moving forward, Arthur Rimbaud’s Une Saison en Enfer or A season in hell was written at the time when he was recovering from a gunshot. The book has had considerable influence on later Surrealist writers it was considered a revolutionary work because it shunned conventional description, straightforward narrative and didactic purpose. His work revolts against naturalism, precision and objectivity. Rimbaud relies on suggestion and evocation rather than concrete depiction. For this paper we will focus on the second poem Bad blood. The poems read like the confessions of a self-confessed scoundrel. And why should it not? Rimbaud had a homosexual lover named Paul Verlaine who later shot him when they broke up. The book was direct result of his shooting and the tumults he underwent while recovering from the wound. Initially the book was unsuccessful. The poem Bad Blood, like the rest of his work, reads like the rants of a self-confessed scoundrel. He explores his pre-Christian, Gaellic origins and emphasizes his alienation from modern civilization. Scholars are at variance as to what the actual theme of his work is. However, the general consensus is that it has to do with the Narrator’s struggle to reconcile the ideals of Christianity with the Hypocrisy and Corruption of Western Civilization. There are many dualities presented and exposed for what they are. In relation to his times the Hypocrisy and Corruption was at its hilt. In those days nearly every European power had colonies overseas. All European nations, at least in the west, professed freedom and civil liberties as inalienable rights. Slavery and serfdom were obsolete and illegal in Western Europe. Yet all one has to do is leave the confines of continental Europe so see that slavery is still widely practiced. I believe that as result of modern printing and communication methods like the Morse code and the AFP news began to travel faster than it did before. This exposed Rimbaud to the many forms of Hypocrisy and Corruption that crippled the morale fiber of Europe. For example, Africans are treated as second-class citizens in their own country. They are forced to work inhumane conditions in the mines, plantations and farms of their European masters for little or no viable compensation. Civil liberties are denied to colonials to the hilt, in the Philippines the Spanish are allowed to beat up the locals just for not showing them the proper deference. In fact, he did not have to go very far. There were many reports of women and children working in English coal mines. They even went on strike to protest their inhumane wages and working conditions. Normally news from England would take days or even weeks to reach continental Europe and vise versa but thanks to the telegraph a worker’s strike in Paris can be known to Londoners as quickly as the next day. Finally, Benjamin’s work was perhaps the most heavily affected by industrialization. In fact, his book Paris, Capital of the Nineteenth Century is almost entirely about the advances and changes brought about by the rapid industrialization of the bygone century. The book outlines the changes in almost glowingly utopia perspective. This is in contrast to the dark, brooding and negative views of the previous authors. For example, the first chapter â€Å"Arcades† points out that material and social conditions that makes Arcades possible. With the advancement of capitalism, Arcades have become obsolete, replaced by the department store. As an aside, Benjamin refers to Arcades as almost utopian paradises. The next chapter about Daguerre photography mentions the role of photography in transforming art. The chapter also mentions how photos become a commodity and emphasizes the commodity trade of photographs in relation to portraits. Benjamin will later refer to this as unconscious optics. The fourth chapter points out how the rapidly industrialized world has successfully separated home from work. In the olden days of Agriculture people worked that land where they lived. In his day people traveled quite far to reach the factories and shops where they worked.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Simply put, Benjamin chronicles the changes that industrialization has brought about. It is appears he view industrialization as positive since there are few mentions of the negative aspect of it. Instead Industrialization is viewed positively as a means to improve the lives and livelihoods of people.   Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚  Ã‚   Industrialization brought about massive changes during the 19th century. Poets and writers as purveyors and chroniclers of the people’s world-view are not isolated from these sweeping changes. These authors are just a few examples of how the great changes of their times greatly affected their styles.

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