January 14, 2009

Writing in the wrong style

Ian's Modes of Reading essay (or my fantasy thereof) expressed in its true form as an erotic romance. Or something along those lines.

At its obscenity trial, ‘Howl’ was adjudged to have ‘redeeming social importance’.  Assess this verdict.  How would you define ‘redeeming social importance’, and is there evidence in the poem to support a reading along these lines?  Also, is ‘redeeming social importance’ a condition of our enjoyment of the work as poetry?

Hell and Literature were not unfamiliar bedfellows. In fact as Literature walked nervously through the vivid American streets she found herself caught time and again in the memory of Hell's scent, his muscled form, their mythical flirtation when he had gone by the name of Hades and their passionate, lingering reunion years later when Dante brought them together once more. In her most honest moments Literature was forced to admit that she had never known the touch of a setting like Hell. But this time - this time was different. For now it was Ginsberg on his back in his tiny flat surrendering to Hell's fiery embrace, and it was Ginsberg now, not Hell, who called to Literature and yearned for her, desperate for her to give him what he wanted: a redeeming social importance the like of which no poet had ever known before.

(while I deeply regret the fact that Ian has chosen to jeopardise not only his essay but indeed his entire literary career by ignoring my suggestions, I wish him many excellent marks and thank him for the opening sentence)


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