MARIANNE MOORE by Bernard F. Engel


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Another in the Twayne series, but it's more de rigueur than Eliot's (see p. 351), simply because it's the first full-length study Marianne Moore has received. Eliot (he gets around) has famously categorized her poetry as descriptive rather than dramatic or lyrical, filled with a prose cadence and a ""light rhyme,"" developing and discriminating upon various social, philosophical and zoological minutiae ""with something like the fascination of a high-powered microscope."" And recently Miss Moore has defined her personal panacea as ""God and family"" and that she likes ""to be inconspicious but look well."" All of these aspects- and some are certainly quaint-Professor Engel admirably annotates in a poem-by-poem commentary, keynoting- and quite rightly- the lady's ""playfulness,"" her elegant avant-garde style, along with the moral perseverance behind it, really an old-fashioned conservatism. Like many of the animals which so delight us in the poems, Miss Moore is emblematic of ""the armored self,"" of a candor and chastity, of liberty bred through discipline, of an almost diosyncratic endurance. Though paradox is her specialty and humor her ace in the hole, her world -- view is largely anti-romantic, anti-Statist. It's a pity there isn't more here about her syllabic meters etc.; still, a fine, fluent primer.

Publisher: Twayne