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Associationism and the Literary ImaginationFrom the Phantasmal Chaos$
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Cairns Craig

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780748609123

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9780748609123.001.0001

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The Lyrical Epic and the Singularity of Literature

The Lyrical Epic and the Singularity of Literature

(p.285) 6 The Lyrical Epic and the Singularity of Literature
Associationism and the Literary Imagination

Cairns Craig

Edinburgh University Press

This chapter discusses the lyrical epic, which is a non-narrative long poem. The first section looks at the associationist foundations of several lyrical epics, and then tries to understand the difficulty of modernist poetry. It reveals that the lyrical epic is sometimes regarded as a poem which needs to be read as a representation of the contents of a particular mind, or as a development of the dramatic monologue. This means that it will always be necessarily different, and is the form which fully exploits the associationist tradition's conception of a work of art that exists only in the motivation of the reader's associations. The chapter also emphasizes the importance of pinpointing the structural principle of the lyrical epic.

Keywords:   lyrical epic, associationist foundations, modernist poetry, dramatic monologue, associationist tradition, structural principle

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