The Ghosts I Do Know: Rhythm, Dickinson, Crane

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This paper will examine poetry and rhythm in relation to biological and evolutionary models in order to develop a hypothetical methodology by which certain aspects of literature may be examined through an evolutionary lens. It is by no means an attempt at a finalizing or totalizing way of examining literature, but as such attempts have largely been ignored or assaulted, there is a rather large niche to fill. Hence this article will attempt to redefine literature as a ‘Third Level Darwin Machine’ and parallel the science/culture/Theory debate with that in physics/string theory and then it will connect poetry to Boyd’s idea of ‘rhythm and attention’ along with 'motor resonance', mirror neurons and music theory. It will then look at the influence of Emily Dickinson’s rhythmic and metaphoric compression on the poetry of Hart Crane as a mimetic function following Boyd’s notion of attention, pattern and play as functions of a Third Level Darwinian Machine which will be the operative foundation for a naturalized (but not totalized) account of poetic effect and its relation to the human species’ evolved history.
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Archival date: 2015-01-18
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