Cawdor, a Long Poem: Medea, After Euripides

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New Directions Publishing, 1970 - Poetry - 191 pages
Here for a new generation of readers and students are two major poetic works of Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962).

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Page xxix - I think nothing is of any value in books excepting the transcendental and extraordinary. If a man is inflamed and carried away by his thought, to that degree that he forgets the authors and the public and heeds only this one dream which holds him like an insanity, let me read his paper, and you may have all the arguments and histories and criticism.
Page xvi - An exhibition of essential elements by the burning away through pain and ruin of inertia and the unessential. " Rudolf Gilbert describes the process this way: "What to Athanasius was divinity, to Jeffers is nature — nature and divinity always separated from Cawdor/ Medea 169 humanity.
Page 188 - MEDEA The wine I was pouring for you spilled on my hand. Dear were the little grapes that were crushed to make it; dear were the vineyards. JASON I came to kill you, Medea, Like a caught beast, like a crawling viper. Give me my sons, that I may save them from Creon's men, I'll go quietly away. MEDEA Hush: they are sleeping. Perhaps I will let you look at them: you cannot have them. / But the hour is late, you ought to go home to that high-born bride; the night has fallen, surely she longs for you....
Page xx - It is a profession of faith, and a sort of religion; a way of looking at life by virtue of which it is robbed of its pain. The sturdy soul of the tragic author seizes upon suffering and uses it only as a means by which joy may be wrung out of existence, but it is not to be forgotten that he is enabled to do so only because of his belief in the greatness of human nature and because, though he has lost the child's faith in life, he has not lost his far more important faith in human nature. A tragic...
Page 159 - WOMAN,) Yesterday evening a slave Came up to the harbor-gate, carrying a basket Of new-caught fish: one of the fish took fire And burned in the wet basket with a high flame : the thing was witnessed By many persons. THIRD WOMAN.
Page xx - The intellect is a consoler, which delights in detaching or putting an interval between a man and his fortune, and so converts the sufferer into a spectator and his pain into poetry. It yields the joys of conversation, of letters and of science. Hence also the torments of life become tuneful tragedy, solemn and soft with music, and garnished with rich dark pictures. But higher still than the activities of art, the intellect in its purity and the moral sense in its purity are not distinguished from...
Page xvii - The bitterest tragic element in life to be derived from an intellectual source is the belief in a brute Fate or Destiny; the belief that the order of Nature and events is controlled by a law not adapted to man, nor man to that, but which holds on its way to the end, serving him if his wishes chance to lie in the same course, crushing him if his wishes lie contrary to it, and heedless whether it serves or crushes him. This is the terrible meaning that lies at the foundation of the old Greek tragedy,...
Page 117 - ... but he would hardly Let his sons be cast out. THE TUTOR Well ... he has made a new alliance. He is not a friend of this house. THE NURSE If this were true! — Listen: I hear her voice. Take the children away, keep them away from her. Take them to the other door. Quickly.
Page 122 - Greek ship, under the thunder of the sail, weeping and laughing. That huge journey through the Black Sea and the Bosphorus, where the rocks clang together, through the Sea of Marmora, And through the Hellespont, watched by the spearmen of wealthy Troy, and home to Greek water: his home, my exile, My endless exile. And here I have loved him and borne him sons; and this... man... Has left me and taken Creon's daughter, to enjoy her fortune, and put aside her soft yellow hair And kiss her young mouth....

About the author (1970)

John Robinson Jeffers (1887-1962) graduated from Occidental College at the age of eighteen. Subsequently, he studied literature at the University of Southern California; philosophy, Old English, Dante, and Spanish romantic poetry in Switzerland; medicine at USC; and forestry at the University of Washington. Much of his poetry focused on the central California coast.

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