University of Tasmania
whole_HarrexSydneyChurch1962_thesis.pdf (18.37 MB)

The dark house of E.A. Robinson : psychological themes in the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson.

Download (18.37 MB)
posted on 2023-05-27, 00:23 authored by Harrex, SC
The \tremendous force of analogy\" with which Henry aims achieved confrontation of fissured aspects of personality and of culture \"in the depths of the house of the past of that mystical other world that might have flourished\" is conspicuous in the poetry of Edwin Arlington Robinson. It is more than the mere dynamic of image-making which characterises much poetry of the present age. It is infused in Robinson's attitude to life his psychological realism his implied values and his primary symbols. Like the sailor in \"Lost Anchors\" the poet made of his 'legend' 'a manifest Analogy.' (p.578) The Robinsonian Analogy is a predominantly psychological structure proportioned according to the poet's main interest - human nature - and essential aim - inferential disclosure of inner realities. It is a dark house in which the occupants live and die psychic lives and psychic deaths. It is not unlike James' \"house on the jolly corner\" the archetypal analogy of man and house of which Spencer Brydon the central character in \"The jolly Corner\" becomes so acutely aware in the time of his spiritual crisis: \"The quaint analogy quite hauntingly remained with him when he didn't indeed rather improve it by a still intenser form : that of his opening a door behind which he would have made sure of finding nothing a door into a room shuttered and void and yet so coming with a great suppressed start on some quite erect confronting presence something planted in the middle of the place and facing him through the dusk.\" The house symbolism and the \"alter-ego\" situation depicted in \"The jolly Corner\" are comparable to Robinsan's poetic postulates the significance of which are more clearly perceived in terms of psychological analogies. Psychoanalysis has drawn attention to the ontogenetic and phylogenetic significance of house symbolism. James and Robinson found the symbol to be a convenient means of expressing psychic dilemma and of depicting in plausible images aspects of the unconscious life. A man wanders through the darkness of his house opening and closing \"mortal' 'inner' 'wrong' or 'forgotten' doors (as the poet variously describes them) in quest of identity in search of his soul. 'This treacherous and imperfect house of man' (p.1028) the poet describes him on one occasion. He may be like Brydon on the \"threshold\" of self‚ÄövÑvÆrealisation or like Avon in Avon' s Harvest on the edge of doom. He may like Nightingale in The Glory of the Nightingales erect a pretentious mansion on a foundation of evil and guilt ; or like Bartholow in Roman Bartholow finally escape his 'ancestral prison'. Mere are still some gods to please And houses are built without hands we're told.\" (p.48) Penn-Raven tells Bartholow that his \"dreams have taken\" him \"far from home\" (p.819) ; gives the example of a man who \"Sure that his house that was not made with hands Was built forever was too sure to see;\" (p.820) and later observes that \"Negation is a careless architect.\" (p.826) Matthias heeds similar warnings of his own \"inner voice\" actually a projection phantasy and at the end prepares to restore the 'tower' of 'self'. Be learns like Brydon that: \"the development of personality moans more than the mere fear of bringing monsters into the world or the fear of isolation. It also means fidelity to the law of one's being.\" The more mature of Robinson 's characters share Brydonls psychologically \"prodigious journey\" and experience \"a sensation more complex than had ever before found itself consistent with sanity\" while the more unhappy representatives of human psychology of whom Avon is the most conclusive example are destroyed in the \"rage of personality\"... \"the stranger whoever he might be evil odious blatant vulgar had advanced as for aggression and he knew himself give ground.. Then harder pressed still sick with the force of his shock and falling back as under the hot breath and the roused passion of a life larger than his own a rage of personality before which his own collapsed he felt the whole vision turn to darkness and his very feet give way.\" The vision turned to darkness the struggle upward for the light in the 'buried' rooms of the dark house ... such is the psychology such the parable such the 'manifest Analogy' of Edwin Arlington Robinson's poetry."


Publication status

  • Unpublished

Rights statement

Copyright 1961 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.A.)--University of Tasmania, 1962

Repository Status

  • Open

Usage metrics

    Thesis collection


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager