Контрольная работа: Time's Tale. The Temporal Poetics of Shelley's Alastor in Keats-Shelley Journal

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... Rajan's reading well demonstrates how a diacritical mode such as narrative can function to demystify the powerful Romantic impulse towards lyric idealization and enclosure. Yet her deprecation of Aristotelian emplotment in lieu of a "critical narrative" whose sequencing of connection and difference is recursive rather than progressive leads her to follow the critical tradition of the poem in neglecting the peripety that, as I wish to argue here, twists the narrative's plot. In opposition to the prevailing view that the fate of Alastor's hero only worsens as his quest continues after the dream-vision, I shall argue that his developing understanding of life's temporal arc leads him to a consoling recognition that the poem's narrator and its commentators, focused in the main on the early triptych of events surrounding the dream-vision, largely discount.3 Narrative, so appraised, can be understood as a constructive mode, one which enables Shelley to articulate a model of self-identity and recognition based upon an act of temporal emplotment.


Viewing the poem from this perspective, I am particularly interested in the concept of plot, a persistently downplayed feature of poetic discourse but one which has recently drawn its share of general theoretical reassessment, most notably in Paul Ricoeur's three-volume Time and Narrative and Peter Brook's Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative.4 Of these two, Ricoeur's theory is especially useful for clarifying the Shelleyan hero's radically temporal understanding of his quest, and it is to his characterization of narrative time that I initially wish to turn. Drawing upon Heidegger, Ricoeur states that our sense of time first develops as we learn to reckon with it, to do things "in time." At this level we turn to nature to help orient us: "the first measurements of the time of our preoccupation are borrowed from the natural environment--first of all from the play of lights and the seasons."5 For Ricoeur this initial reckoning then gives way to a deeper sense of time in which the self not only performs actions and engages in events in accord with nature's cycles, but achieves a level of historicity by identifying the arc of these activities in terms of its own extension between birth and death. In this latter stage, according to Ricoeur, the self emplots itself dynamically in time through a reflective act of "making-present" that involves both anticipation and recollection: "Through repetition the character of time as stretching-along is rooted in the deep unity of time as future, past, and present, the backwards movement towards the past is retrieved in the anticipation of a project."6 For Ricoeur, however, this unfolding process must go one crucial step further. ...