- Feb 2018
Does allusion also function as a form of adaptation?
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.
But the characters who populate The Waste Landshift from the Renaissance (Elizabeth and Leicester; Shakespeare) to the Classical world (Antony and Cleopatra, also via Shakespeare) to the timeless landscape of mythology (Tereus and Philomela; Tiresias). All of these periods co-exist within the poem, as ancient Tiresias is witness to the banal sexual encounter of a modern couple
so many times periods are represented. I wonder if this will be a key theme in all the works I look at... with Sybil and Trimalchio in Gatsby and The Waste Land... Mr and Mrs Elliot, although a possible dig at Elliot's personal life, doesn't have the same breadth of allusion and time represented. http://www.spectacle.org/0309/sybil.html
Eliot’s reputation as a ‘difficult’ poet is based in large part on this type of exclusivity.
Again, what does form have to do with exclusivity? Are certain mediums more exclusive? Is poetry a form that creates distance between the reader and intended meaning?
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
They invite the reader into a kind of game of discovery with the author, as the reader encounters new material that affected the author and may in turn shape the reader’s ideas.
This speaks to the longevity in interest of works like The Waste Land because there are endless places to go with the piece and so much secondary material that complements it. It's really a jumping off point for the reader and other writers to wrestle with the material.
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?
The Waste Landand Moulin Rouge!embody several distinctive characteristics of the allusive form. First and most obviously, allusive art works are also heavily and intentionally intertextual.
Interesting to view allusion in two different mediums, but with similar outcomes in the use of intertextuality. The problem for my interests is proving that influence The Waste Land has on other mediums is causal and cognizant.
Moulin Rouge!is loaded with allusions to what is normally thought of as ‘pop culture.’ But the extraordinary breadth of knowledge required to excavate all of Moulin Rouge!’s references is not necessarily less than that required for The Waste La
Really enjoy this comparison... If I look at The Wicker Man's connection to The Wast Land it will be interesting to argue that they both show allusion in large degrees to different audiences and time periods.
he notes might be viewed as an attempt by the author to create the ideal allusive reader. However, the notes are infamous for being opaque, fragmentary, and often misleading. Eliot can identify the thrush as a North American bird noted for its ‘water dropping’ song, but not the almost certain source for the thrush in Walt Whitman’s ‘When Lilacs Last in the Dooryard Bloom’d.’
Are we so caked in allusion in our thinking that we don't know what the true source material is? Does Eliot's inability to give proper notes to the poem demonstrate an intentional elusiveness or the forgetfulness from allusion everywhere? How intentional was Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Waughn, and others about the allusions in their stories? I tend to see more evidence in the intentionality of the authors, which will help in defining their works as being heavily influenced by The Waste Land. A connection that will have to be clearly articulated, not in Eliot's fragmented notes style.
The mental energy required for readers to constantly jump from the present text to an older one is considerable, and if readers must supply the gaps in their ‘allusive competency’ by engaging in ‘textual archaeology,’35or going outside the text to research its allusions, the demand is indeed extreme.
This demand seems especially daunting in poetry, with few words as it is. Does the novel or film have an easier go of connecting the reader to the demands of allusion? Less of a loss in understanding the idea of the work if the reader doesn't bat a thousand with the allusions because other elements carry the storyline.
Eliot’s insistence on the simultaneity of the entire body of literature suggests an approachto artistic composition which is both historically conscious and not constrained by history.
Ezra Pound "Make it new"
- t.s. eliot
- Williams Carlos Williams
- The Waste Land
- moulin rouge!
- Spring and All
- visual allusion
- The Great Gatsby
- Critical Allusion
- Film vs. Poetry
- pop culture