bloom's major poets - allen tate - comprehensive research and study guide (124p) [inua]

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    TateAllen

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    C U R R E N T L Y A V A I L A B L E

    BLOOMS MAJOR POETS

    Maya Angelou

    John AshberyElizabeth Bishop

    William Blake

    Gwendolyn Brooks

    Robert Browning

    Geoffrey Chaucer

    Sameul Taylor Coleridge

    Hart Crane

    E.E. CummingsDante

    Emily Dickinson

    John Donne

    H.D.

    Thomas Hardy

    Seamus Heaney

    A.E. Housman

    T. S. Eliot

    Robert Frost

    Seamus Heaney

    Homer

    Langston Hughes

    John Keats

    W.S. Merwin

    John Milton

    Marianne Moore

    Sylvia PlathEdgar Allan Poe

    Poets of World War I

    Christina Rossetti

    Wallace Stevens

    Mark Strand

    Shakespeares Poems & Sonnets

    Percy Shelley

    Allen TateAlfred, Lord Tennyson

    Walt Whitman

    William Carlos Williams

    William Wordsworth

    William Butler Yeats

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    Tate

    Allen

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    2004 by Chelsea House Publishers, a subsidiary ofHaights Cross Communications.

    Introduction 2004 by Harold Bloom.

    All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproducedor transmitted in any form or by any means without the writtenpermission of the publisher.

    Printed and bound in the United States of America.

    First Printing

    1 3 5 7 9 8 6 4 2

    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Allen Tate / [edited by] Harold Bloom.p. cm. (Blooms major poets)

    Includes bibliographical references and index.ISBN 0-7910-7889-2

    1. Tate, Allen, 1899-Criticism and interpretation. I. Bloom,Harold. II. Series.

    PS3539.A74Z56 2004818.5209dc22

    2004002632

    Contributing Editor: Gabriel Welsch

    Cover design by Keith Trego

    Layout by EJB Publishing Services

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    C O N T E N T S

    Users Guide 7

    About the Editor 8

    Editors Note 9

    Introduction 10

    Biography ofAllen Tate 12

    Critical Analysis of Ode to the Confederate Dead 18Critical Views on Ode to the Confederate Dead 25

    George Hemphill on the Poems Formative Aspects 25Ferman Bishop on Tates Revision Process 29Radcliffe Squires Explicates the Poem 39Robert S. Dupree on Tates Parody of Religious Ideals 47William Doreski on the Context of Tates Voice 53Langdon Hammer on the Presence of Other Modernists 55

    Critical Analysis of The Mediterranean 63

    Critical Views on The Mediterranean 66George Hemphill onTates Characteristic Tension 66Radcliffe Squires on Tates Intellectual Home 68Robert S. Dupree on the Poems Suggestive Language 71William Doreski on Tates Connection to Baudelaire 75

    Critical Analysis of Aeneas at Washington 78Critical Views on Aeneas at Washington 82

    Radcliffe Squires on Tates Pairs of Poems 82Robert S. Dupree on the Poems Imaginative Leap 84Elsa Nettels on the Poems Agrarian Statement 88

    Critical Analysis of The Swimmers 92Critical Views on The Swimmers 96

    Radcliffe Squires on Tates Formal Approach 96Robert S. Dupree on the Poems Narrative

    and Symbolism 97

    William Doreski on Tates Breaking New Ground 102Thomas A. Underwood on Tates Social Thinking 106

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    Works byAllen Tate 113

    Works aboutAllen Tate 116

    Acknowledgments 121

    Index of Themes and Ideas 122

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    U S E R S G U I D E

    This volume is designed to present biographical, critical, and

    bibliographical information on the author and the authors best-known or most important poems. Following Harold Bloomseditors note and introduction is a concise biography of theauthor that discusses major life events and important literaryaccomplishments. A critical analysis of each poem follows,tracing significant themes, patterns, and motifs in the work. Aswith any study guide, it is recommended that the reader read thepoem beforehand and have a copy of the poem being discussed

    available for quick reference.A selection of critical extracts, derived from previouslypublished material, follows each thematic analysis. In most cases,these extracts represent the best analysis available from a numberof leading critics. Because these extracts are derived frompreviously published material, they will include the originalnotations and references when available. Each extract is cited,and readers are encouraged to check the original publication asthey continue their research. A bibliography of the authorswritings, a list of additional books and articles on the author andtheir work, and an index of themes and ideas conclude thevolume.

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    8

    A B O U T T H E E D I T O R

    Harold Bloom is Sterling Professor of the Humanities at Yale

    University. He is the author of over 20 books, and the editor ofmore than 30 anthologies of literary criticism.

    Professor Blooms works include Shelleys Mythmaking (1959),The Visionary Company (1961), Blakes Apocalypse (1963), Yeats(1970), A Map of Misreading (1975), Kabbalah and Criticism(1975),Agon: Toward a Theory of Revisionism (1982), The AmericanReligion (1992), The Western Canon (1994), and Omens ofMillennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection (1996).

    The Anxiety of Influence (1973) sets forth Professor Bloomsprovocative theory of the literary relationships between the greatwriters and their predecessors. His most recent books includeShakespeare: The Invention of the Human, a 1998 National BookAward finalist,How to Read and Why (2000), Stories and Poems forExtremely Intelligent Children of All Ages(2001), Genius: A Mosaicof One Hundred Exemplary Creative Minds (2002), and Hamlet:Poem Unlimited(2003).

    Professor Bloom earned his Ph.D. from Yale University in1955 and has served on the Yale faculty since then. He is a 1985MacArthur Foundation Award recipient and served as theCharles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry at Harvard Universityin 198788. In 1999 he was awarded the prestigious AmericanAcademy of Arts and Letters Gold Medal for Criticism.Professor Bloom is the editor of several other Chelsea Houseseries in literary criticism, including BLOOMS MAJOR SHORTSTORYWRITERS, BLOOMSMAJORNOVELISTS, BLOOMSMAJOR

    DRAMATISTS, BLOOMS MODERN CRITICAL INTERPRETATIONS,BLOOMS MODERN CRITICAL VIEWS, BLOOMS BIOCRITIQUES,BLOOMS GUIDES, BLOOMSMAJORLITERARYCHARACTERS, andBLOOMS PERIOD STUDIES.

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    9

    EDITORS NOTE

    My Introduction contrasts The Mediterranean, a poem that

    shows Allen Tates affinity with Hart Crane, to Aeneas atWashington, where the idiom of T.S. Eliot is dominant.

    All six of the critical analyses of Ode to the ConfederateDead seem to me useful, but I am particularly helped byLangdon Hammers acute perceptions. Hammer shrewdly notesTates recapitulation of his identification with Eliot andrepudiation of Hart Crane. He captures the irony of Cranescontinued presence in the poems metric and cognitive music.

    The Mediterranean receives four erudite commentarieshere, emphasizing Tates evocations of Vergil and Baudelaire,useful supplements to the surmise in my Introduction that HartCranes ghost also hovers in this poem.

    Aeneas at Washington, far more Eliotic than Vergilian, isseen by three critics here as an exemplification of Tates fierceLatinity.

    The Swimmers, probably Tates most socially problematicalpoem, is illuminated by four approaches here, all of whichsuggest that this works creation could not resolve the blockageof Tates imaginative vision.

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    I N T R O D U C T I O N

    Harold Bloom

    I met Allen Tate only twice, and was moved by the poignance ofhis memories of Hart Crane, his exact contemporary and closefriend. Tates literary criticism was very much in the mode of T.S.Eliot, and I always greatly preferred Tates own poetry to hiswork as a critic. Northrop Frye, reviewing Tates collected essays,found in them what Frye called the Eliotic myth of the GreatWestern Butterslide, in which a grand slab of classical, Catholic,and royalist butter slides down the centuries and melts, until itcongeals again in Eliots The Waste Land.

    Though a resolute New Critic, in Eliots wake, Tate ultimatelywas as much a late Romantic poet as Eliot proved to be. ThoughTate increasingly repudiated Hart Cranes The Bridge whilehailing Eliots The Waste Land, the idiom of Crane neverabandoned the would-be classicist. Cranes pentameter quatrainseasily can be mistaken for Tates while Eliots fascinating blend ofTennyson and Whitman (his true precursors) yielded a very

    different mode.Tates Ode to the Confederate Dead strives to be Eliotic, yet

    the voice of Hart Crane keeps breaking in:

    The brute curiosity of an an