The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos by Anne Carson

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Titel: The Beauty of the Husband: A Fictional Essay in 29 Tangos – Forfatter: Anne Carson – Forlag: Vintage

★★★☆☆

First of all, the form and structure of the poetry collection consist of dialogue, fragments of flashbacks and memories, journal form, letters and literary references. As Carson truly possesses the art of writing, she does not reveal everything, so the reader is left with questions and in some instances confusion.

 Although, Carson’s literary universe is filled with symbolism, metaphors and literary references, her poetry appears readable because it consists of everyday-language. The language is only simple on the surface because it deals with universal paradoxes and issues of human life. As mentioned, certain elements in language create meaning.

The question is now; how does one classify Anne Carson’s poetry? There is no doubt that she is experimental in relation to form, structure and the general idea of poetry. She breaks away from traditional poetry and creates unique and experimental poetry.

Carson challenges our expectations of the form of traditional poetry. Would her experimental literary work be considered as poetry, novels or another un-defined medium? After showing several examples of how Carson differentiates from the traditional form, it is obvious that her literary work is poetry, prose and is influenced by other mediums, e.g. journal form, flashbacks and memoirs that decide the pace of the literary work.

From a contemporary point of view, one might say that the idea of poetry is not only based on structure, genre and discourse, but rather sensuous language, feelings, the reading experience and the subjective experience that it is to read a lyrical and creative piece of poetry. A modern reader would most likely base a reading on his or her own feelings, experience or status in life, and thereby; not supporting the formalistic approach to the analysis of the text. Another important aspect of a modern reading would be Sten Pultz Moslund’s (2015) emphasis on sensuous language and the effect of poetry on the senses of the reader. Terry Eagleton claims that it is a matter of value and “the fact that we always interpret literary works to some extent in the light of our own concerns” (Rice, 2001: 402).

For the modern reader, it is important to be able to identify, emphasise and put oneself in the main character’s position.
Contemporary literature is without boundaries or borders. In 2015, literature is allowed to differentiate, mix several genres or the language can be filled with slang or internetlanguage. Even though, Carson’s work was published earlier, a modern reader would define it as experimental, modern and a renewal of the traditional form of poetry.

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