Affordable Access

Access to the full text

Transformative Poetry. A Case Study of W. H. Auden’s Musée Des Beaux Arts and General Conclusions

Authors
  • Sarot, Marcel
Type
Published Article
Journal
Perichoresis
Publisher
De Gruyter Open
Publication Date
Oct 01, 2016
Volume
14
Issue
2
Pages
81–97
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/perc-2016-0012
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Green

Abstract

This article situates Auden’s poem Musée des Beaux Arts in the process of his conversion to Christianity. The author argues for the layered intertextuality of the poem, in which allusions to Bruegel’s Landscape with the Fall of Icarus, The Census at Jerusalem, and The Massacre of the Innocents can be recognised. Moreover, Philippe de Champaigne’s Presentation in the Temple and Peter Paul Rubens’s The Martyrdom of St Livinus (in the same museum in Brussels) seem also to have influenced the poem. Finally, there is reason to suppose that John Singer Sargent’s Crashed Aeroplane influenced Auden. In an analysis of the structure of the poem, the author argues that there is a clear structure hidden under the surface of day-to-day language. He connects this hidden structure with Auden’s poem The Hidden Law, and suggests that Auden wished to claim that even though we cannot understand suffering, it has a hidden meaning known only to God. This hidden meaning connects our suffering with the self-emptying of Christ, a connection which the author demonstrates is in fact also made in Musée des Beaux Arts.

Report this publication

Statistics

Seen <100 times