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The Journal of English Language and Literature , Vol.56, No.5, 797 ~ 822, 2010
Displacement of Modernism: Edna St. Vincent Millay`s Rewriting Carpe Diem Tradition
박주영 Joo Young Park
This paper aims to explore how Millay`s love sonnets rewrite the carpe diem tradition in the complicated ways. This paper redirects critical attention away from Millay`s individual experience and inner self toward the scene of literary history, suggesting that there may be more historical consciousness in Millay`s sentimental and feminine "gesture." Rewriting the carpe diem tradition, Millay`s sonnets reveal an awareness of the dependence of the carpe diem poems` discursive logic on the woman`s coyness, its inability to accomplish its triumph over woman or time (death) without her posited reluctance. Contrary to Andrew Marvel`s "To His Coy Mistress," the speakers of Millay`s sonnets could never be accused of the sexual coyness; they are outspoken in their defiance of both death and lovers whose possessiveness resembles death`s embrace. Moreover, as Stacy Carson Hubbard points out, by converting female sexual experience from its status as a onetime closural event to repeatable one, hence an opportunity for the general and emotional irritability productive of narrative, Millay seizes for the woman the power of "dilation" in both its sexual and its verbal forms. Furthermore, this paper argues that the woman`s sex no longer invites analogies to things secret and sealed, preserved or ruined in Millay`s sonnets. The woman`s promiscuity implies a rejection of monumentalizing love, as well as a refusal of the fixing inherent in the carpe diem`s fearful invocation of the movement of time. Throughout the love sonnets, the speaker`s sexualized body produces nothing but ephemera. For Millay, this body spends its powers in hopes of having them, and the force of this spending is a perpetual and willful forgetting, which makes possible the repetition of love`s story. Ultimately, Milly disturbs our critical categories by rendering permeable boundaries between modern literature and dead form of classic literature, the female speaker and male speaker.
Key Words
에드나 세인트 빈센트 밀레이, 사랑 소네트, 카르페 디엠, 감상주의, 모더니즘, Edna St. Vincent Millay, Love sonnet, carpe diem, sentimentalism, modernism,영미문학, 문화연구, 비교문학, 비평이론, English and American Literature, cultural studies, comparative literature, critical theory
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