- Feb 2018
Unlike The Waste Land, Moulin Rouge!’s allusions are only rarely critical; the closest it comes to social commentary is in the use of Nirvana’s dark hymn to the ennui of consumerism, ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit,’ as the Moulin Rouge’s rich male customers enter the club.
What are the functions allusion besides layering? I think there is something important about the critical function that occurs in this use of allusion. Fitzgerald was a moralist describing the evils of capitalism and American society, so the use of Trimalchio as Gatsby is a critical allusion.
lthough less obviously ‘difficult’ than The Waste Land, Moulin Rouge!makes effective use of the dense layering effect allusion allows.This complex layering is put into the service of a simple, melodramatic love story, rather than a meditation on the spiritual aridity of modern life. Moulin Rouge!’s innocent, sentimental celebration of love could, in fact, be read as Luhrmann’s response the kind of dislocation Eliot portrays in The Waste Land.
I really find this argument fascinating. The "less obviously difficult" perspective as it relates to many works that have been in-part inspired by The Waste Land. I like the idea of nuanced allusion, you don't necessarily need to know all the allusion to understand the storyline. This manifests itself well in works with more plot-based writing. The novel or cinema might be better at achieving the "less obviously difficult" allusion because it has a strong narrative already. The allusion comes alongside of it, or in the case of Moulin Rouge, the allusions are a part of the pop culture the audience is already familiar with.
Allusive works are also prey to allegations of plagiarism at worst, and lack of originality at best. Eliot commented that one justification for including the notes to The Waste Landwas to counter the accusations of plagiarism that had greeted his earlier, heavily allusive poems.45Such accusations show a basic misunderstanding of the nature ofallusion. Plagiarism, unlike allusion, seeks to be invisible and undiscovered, and furthermore, it does not attempt to create any tensions of meaning between the old and new usage of the plagiarized materials.
William Carlos Williams criticism of The Waste Land-- "copyist tendencies," and "the traditions of plagiarism." from Spring and All. A common criticism.
In this sense, allusion and other intertextual references ‘should be distinguished from the customary rhetorical situation in which texts are considered by artists and audience alike to be mimetic analogs or representations of real-life people, places, or things.’31By drawing attention to itself, intruding on the conventional narrative flow, systematically deployed allusion continually reminds audiences that they are dealing with an artificial construct.
Naturalism and allusion don't coincide. The Great Gatsby may be an example of this missing reality-- a sort of artificial construct of Fitzgerald's imagination with dramatic, over-top descriptions of gatsby as Trimalchio in his mansion that looks like "the world's fair." https://www.enotes.com/homework-help/chapter-5-begins-with-nick-observing-gatsys-house-436789
For allusion to operate at all, the author and the reader must have a shared pool ofpoetic memory on which to draw,25and the author assumes a (possibly nonexistent) knowledgeable reader when engaging in allusion.26Conte goes so far as to suggest that the author ‘establishes the competence of his (or her) own Model Reader, that is, the author constructs the addressee and motivates the text in order to do so,’27
what if there is not a Model Reader? Can the audience not be aware of the allusion? In that case, the new works have to create new meanings. In connecting The Waste Land to modern audiences, are there ways to "establish competency" in a visual scene that the page would not be able to do?
- pop culture
- t.s. eliot
- The Great Gatsby
- Williams Carlos Williams
- visual allusion
- The Waste Land
- Critical Allusion
- Spring and All
- moulin rouge!