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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Beginning Again Sprout, Frances Mary 1996

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BEGINNING AGAIN: DEREK WALCOTT'S ANOTHER LIFE AND WILLIAM WORDSWORTH'S PRELUDE by FRANCES MARY SPROUT (SCHMIDT) B.A., The University of Victoria, 1994 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Department of English) We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA July 1996 (&) Frances Mary Sprout, 1996 In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by his or her representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission. Department of £ft^ \i«,L The University of British Columbia Vancouver, Canada Date fLy«4*s 111C DE-6 (2/88) Abstract In "Beginning Again: Derek Walcott's Another L i f e and William Wordsworth's Prelude." I read Another L i f e through/against The Prelude, focusing on how Walcott claims arid continues the inheritance represented by The Prelude as well as on ways he re-writes t h i s work, modifying and subverting i t to s u i t his post-colonial needs. Like M.H. Abrams, I use The Prelude as a representative text, reading i t as a culmination and embodiment of Romantic theory and p r a c t i c e . In my introduction, I note other comparisons of the two works, o f f e r an overview of the thesis, and discuss the c r i t i c a l response which labels Walcott's work too Eurocentric to be relevant. I respond to t h i s by o f f e r i n g p ost-colonial theory which asserts the legitimacy of "appropriation and reconstitution of the language of the centre" (Ashcroft et a l . 38), and I discuss Graham Huggan's and Rei Terada's work on the use of mimicry i n the Caribbean. Walcott's simultaneous love for and f r u s t r a t i o n with the Western canon which i s part of his heritage i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable i n three areas, each of which i s the focus of one of my chapters: 1)nature and landscape imagery; 2), the notion of the divided s e l f ; and 3) the form, structuring p r i n c i p l e s , and narrative patterns. In the f i r s t chapter, I consider how Walcott writes back to a canon which presents Nature either as paradisal, as divided I l l into either the beautiful or the sublime, or as a partner i n a nurturing, r e c i p r o c a l relationship with the poet. In the second chapter, I discuss the,two poets' shared perception of t h e i r divided selves, arguing that while Wordsworth's conclusion presents a confidence in the p o s s i b i l i t y of regaining i n t e g r i t y , Walcott i n s i s t s that there never has been such i n t e g r i t y i n the colonies, and thus, i t can never be recovered. The t h i r d chapter considers Walcott's choice of the epic form, as well as his modification of Wordsworth's narrative patterns and structuring p r i n c i p l e s . I conclude by asserting that, l i k e the Romantic project as Abrams summarizes i t , Another L i f e i s simultaneously subversive and conservative, reformulating the epic i n order to ensure i t s continued post-colonial relevance. i v Table of Contents Abstract i i Table of Contents i v Acknowledgement v INTRODUCTION 1 Chapter One " A l l That Romantic Taxidermy" 11 Chapter Two "What Else Was He But A Divided Child?" 36 Chapter Three "Heroic Argument" 55 Conclusion 78 Works Cited 93 Acknowledgment V I thank my husband, Paul, my children, Bronwen, Rhiannon, Megan, and Zachary, and my parents, Pat and Ken Schmidt, for encouraging and supporting me i n my academic endeavours. I also thank the instructors at Malaspina University-College for t h e i r encouragement and i n s p i r a t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y Katharina Rout, whose classes I hold as a model for the best kind of academic learning, Ron Bonham and Liz a Potvin whose continuing friendship I appreciate, and Craig Tapping, from whose class came the idea for t h i s t h e s i s . Introduction 1 S i m i l a r i t i e s between William Wordsworth's The Prelude and Derek Walcott's Another L i f e abound, and have been noted since the l a t t e r 1 s publication. In t h i s t h e s is, I read Another L i f e through and against The Prelude. I do so acknowledging the strongly conservative trend i n Walcott's re-working, but defending i t against those c r i t i c s who would r e j e c t the work as "too European." I assert the subversive nature of t h i s re-writing, by demonstrating ways i n which Walcott's appropriation of form and s t y l e achieves the post-c o l o n i a l aim suggested i n The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice i n Post-colonial Literatures, that of " s e i z i n g the language of the centre and re-placing i t i n a discourse f u l l y adapted to the colonized place" (Ashcroft et a l . 38). My primary focus w i l l be on how Walcott claims and continues the inheritance represented by The Prelude, as well as on how he re-writes t h i s work, modifying and subverting i t to s u i t his post-colonial needs. Unwilling to discard the language or the canon of his English ancestors (he states unequivocally that "the language of exegesis i s English" and that he once "saw [him]self l e g i t i m a t e l y prolonging the mighty l i n e of Marlowe, of Milton" ["Twilight" 31]), Walcott admits that his "sense of inheritance was stronger because i t came from estrangement" ("Twilight" 31). He does, however, i n s i s t on making the 2 language relevant to his condition, by "making creative use of h i s schizophrenia, an e l e c t r i c fusion of the old and the new ("Twilight" 17). His hope i s i n the "forging of a language that [goes] beyond mimicry" ("Twilight" 17). When Walcott then writes an autobiographical verse epic recognizably patterned af t e r The Prelude, he i s not imitating to f l a t t e r or to insinuate his way into the canon. Rather, he i s attempting to conserve that which i s valuable while modifying and subverting the canon to assure i t s continued relevance i n the West Indies and expand the p o s s i b i l i t i e s of i t s discourse. Ashton Nichols sums up previous comparisons of Another L i f e and The Prelude in "Colonizing Consciousness: Culture and Identity i n Walcott's Another L i f e and Wordsworth's Prelude," noting that while Kenneth Ramchand f i r s t made the connection between the two, and Edward Baugh l a t e r extended i t , neither developed the Wordworthian side of the p a r a l l e l . Travis Lane, i n "A Different 'Growth of a Poet's Mind 1: Derek Walcott's Another L i f e , " does look more c l o s e l y at The Prelude, but does so mainly to demonstrate the poems' "very great differences" (65). Nichols' essay not only examines Walcott's debt to the "Wordsworthian t r a d i t i o n of verse autobiography" (173), but also suggests that a comparison of the two works can deepen understanding of Wordsworth's poem. Nichols sees the intertextual r e l a t i o n between the two poems as o f f e r i n g an understanding of the c u l t u r a l context 3 of autobiographical writings i n the l y r i c a l mode. He sees the autobiographical voice i n both as emerging "out of an int e r a c t i o n between soci o c u l t u r a l forces and an aesthetic posture that seeks to c r i t i q u e a l l c u l t u r a l i d e n t i f i c a t i o n s " (174), with the r e s u l t i n g d i f f i c u l t y that t h i s voice then seeks an " a r t i s t i c " position free from s o c i a l l i m i t a t i o n s at the same time as i t demonstrates the i m p o s s i b i l i t y of such a c u l t u r a l l y neutral position. My own intere s t i s primarily i n Another L i f e . In t h i s poem, the influence of The Prelude i s clear i n the way i t s subliminal presence underlines an important theme of Walcott's: his simultaneous love for and f r u s t r a t i o n with the Western canon which i s part of his heritage. This i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable i n three areas, each of which w i l l be the focus of one of the following chapters: 1) nature and landscape imagery; 2) the notion of the divided s e l f ; and 3) the form, structuring p r i n c i p l e s , and narrative patterns. The f i r s t chapter w i l l consider Walcott's re-writing of Wordsworth's presentation of Nature. 1 Wordsworth i n s i s t s on an o r i g i n a l i n t e g r i t y with Nature, and points to the Eden of childhood as proof of t h i s . For the post - c o l o n i a l Walcott, i t i s important to expose the Nature into which he has been born as already f a l l e n . Thus i t i s h i s task to "begin here again" (145), to somehow reclaim the garden through "Adam's task of giving things t h e i r names" (294). 4 Although both poems are a l i k e i n weighting landscape and other imagery of nature with symbolic and philosophical meaning, these images always point Wordsworth towards a greater transcendent Nature, a Supreme Being, whereas such solace seems unavailable to Walcott who sees Nature as continually i n s p i r i n g or challenging, but also as continually erasing his art. Walcott's references to Nature also allude to a c o l o n i a l history and to the issues of language surrounding that history, so that the un-named pre-European landscape and the indigenous f l o r a and fauna are juxtaposed with the nature for which he has been given language. The second chapter i s concerned with the treatment i n both poems of the divided s e l f . Although the narrative structure of The Prelude works towards integration, while Another L i f e acknowledges d i v i s i o n at almost every point, the concept of a divided s e l f i s a central concern of both works. Wordsworth speaks of two consciousnesses, di s t i n g u i s h i n g between thoughts and feelings, the l i f e of the soul and that of the mind. Another d i v i s i o n i s apparent i n the i n s e r t i o n of censorious comments by his mature s e l f of h i s a c t i v i t i e s during his early student years. Walcott's own d i v i s i o n s are many: there i s , for example the d i v i s i o n between h i s European and his African heritage; the d i v i s i o n occasioned by his love of Western l i t e r a t u r e and h i s awareness of i t s part i n denying the l o c a l o r a l culture; and 5 the d i v i s i o n caused by his love for Anna and h i s simultaneous detachment from her i n order to observe and describe her i n the name of art. F i n a l l y , the t h i r d chapter w i l l look at the form, structuring p r i n c i p l e s , and narrative patterns of the two poems. Both, of course, share (and modify) the epic form associated with the great works of Homer, V e r g i l , Dante, Spenser, and Milton. By using t h i s form to describe the growth of a poet's mind, Wordsworth makes a q u i n t e s s e n t i a l l y Romantic statement, claiming for the subjective and the in d i v i d u a l a stature previously reserved for heroes and gods. Walcott's seemingly conservative choice of a canonical form i s equally subversive. Although frustrated by the colonizers who w i l l not/cannot see the l o c a l landscape i n terms of poetry, neither w i l l he rej e c t h i s European heritage. Clearly capable of using the Creole "nation language" Edward Brathwaite promotes as the national language of the English-speaking West Indies, 2 Walcott i n s i s t s on also drawing from his European background. To those who "jump[] on" him from "both sides for pretentiousness or playing white," c a l l i n g him " t r a i t o r " or "assimilator," the s e l f - s t y l e d "mulatto of s t y l e " responds: " P a s t o r a l i s t s of the African r e v i v a l should know that what i s needed i s not new names for old things, or old names for old things, but the f a i t h of using the old names anew" 6 ("Twilight" 9-10). Walcott thus r i s k s c r i t i c a l comments such as those of A l i c e Walker, who claims of Another L i f e that "very l i t t l e that i s recognizably Black West Indian survives," and who finds that "there i s too much foreign t a l k and f a r too much B r i t i s h s t y l e " (576). P a t r i c i a Ismond, i n summing up the "Walcott versus Brathwaite" debate i n her a r t i c l e of the same name, says that " i n bringing these two poets together . . . i t would be dishonest not to recognise at once that i t i s Walcott above a l l that needs to be vindicated" (55). As she says, the "stock attitudes" are that Walcott "seems to be a type of poet's poet, the kind of luxury we can i l l afford, and which remains Eurocentric" (54). But while some see Walcott's work as either s l a v i s h l y i mitative or p o l i t i c a l l y q u i e t i s t i n i t s focus on s t y l e , Ismond sees Walcott's "'acceptance' of the Western Word," as making a rather revolutionary claim. This i s the claim to an inheritance evident i n the way Walcott " f e e l s free to mould i t [the Western Word], bend i t to his own purposes, now to expose i t s shortcomings, now draw upon i t s s t r e n g t h s — a s competently as the o r i g i n a l possessors" (69). Ismond's assessment of Walcott's strategy shows i t s s i m i l a r i t y to those " i n t e l l e c t u a l s from the c o l o n i a l or peripheral regions" of whom Edward Said speaks, those who wrote i n an 'imperial' language, who f e l t themselves organically related to the mass 7 resistance to empire, and who set themselves the r e v i s i o n i s t , c r i t i c a l task of dealing f r o n t a l l y with the metropolitan culture, using the techniques, discourses, and weapons of scholarship and c r i t i c i s m once reserved exclusively for the European. (243) When Ismond states that the "confidence and tenacity of [Walcott's] approach challenges and defies any such notions of i n f e r i o r i t y , " she p a r a l l e l s Said's comments that the work of those i n t e l l e c t u a l s writing i n an 'imperial* language i s "only apparently dependent (and by no means p a r a s i t i c ) on mainstream Western discourses; the r e s u l t of i t s o r i g i n a l i t y and c r e a t i v i t y has been the transformation of the very t e r r a i n of the d i s c i p l i n e s " (243). Both Ismond and Said suggest that a writer from the periphery can use the language of the metropolitan power without being either dependent, p a r a s i t i c , or q u i e t i s t . In fac t , as B i l l Ashcroft, Gareth G r i f f i t h s , and Helen T i f f i n say i n The Empire Writes Back, the " c r u c i a l function of language as a medium of power demands that p o s t - c o l o n i a l writing define i t s e l f by seizing the language of the centre and re-placing i t i n a discourse f u l l y adapted to the colonized place" (38). One of the two processes these authors describe for achieving t h i s i s "the appropriation and reconstitution of the language of the centre, the process of capturing and remoulding the language to new 8 usages [which] marks a separation from the s i t e of c o l o n i a l p r i v i l e g e " (38). They c i t e as an example of t h i s Walcott's appropriation as well as his "Adamic celebration of language" (51). Besides appropriating the 'imperial' language, Rei Terada points out that Walcott i s also "address[ing] the opposition between mimicry and o r i g i n a l i t y " (3). Terada makes the extremely pertinent comment that i n at least three ways . . . Walcott's work throws into r e l i e f the simultaneous inadequacy and r e s i l i e n c e of the idea of ' o r i g i n a l i t y ' : by provoking c r i t i c a l discussions of i t ; by the strength with which i t presses against i t ; and by i t s tendency nevertheless to f a l l back upon i t . (44) This p a r a l l e l s Walcott's insistence on countering Wordsworth's Edenic imagery with his own v i s i o n of a f a l l e n nature while simultaneously embracing the Edenic myth i n order to claim the empowering language of Adam. Graham Huggan also considers mimicry i n Walcott's work in h i s essay "A Tale of Two Parrots: Walcott, Rhys, and the Uses of Colonial Mimicry." He sums up Fanon, Naipaul, and Bhabha on mimicry, and suggests that Caribbean writers have been eager to turn c o l o n i a l mimicry to t h e i r own advantage, c a p i t a l i z i n g on the mischief-making a l l i a n c e between parody and 9 'parrotry* i n order to provide a d e l i b e r a t e l y embarrassing reminder of t h e i r own c u l t u r a l difference. (646) The w i l f u l "mischief-making" and "embarrassing" here also c a l l to mind Harold Bloom's Oedipal struggle between the "ephebe" and his "precursor". 3 Laurence Breiner provides a very useful summary of Bloom's theory and i t s relevance to Caribbean writing, comparing i t to both Edward Brathwaite's and Derek Walcott's own theories of influence, i n h i s essay "Tradition, Society, The Figure of the Poet." Throughout these three chapters, I re f e r often to M.H. Abrams, from whom I adopt the practice of using The Prelude as a representative text, as a culmination and embodiment of Romantic theory and practice. This i s perhaps at the cost of ignoring much of the more contemporary theory regarding the Romantic period, but I believe t h i s i s j u s t i f i e d by my project: Abrams' reading of The Prelude i s roughly contemporaneous with the publication of Another L i f e . I have chosen to work with the 1805 version of The Prelude, not only for the rather arb i t r a r y reason that i t i s the version I know best, but also because of Jonathan Wordsworth's claim that i t i s the version preferred by B r i t i s h readers (Walcott's St. Lucian education being modeled obviously on the B r i t i s h ) . 4 The e d i t i o n of Another L i f e to which I r e f e r throughout i s that found i n Collected Poems: 1948-1984. This e d i t i o n 10 does use a d i f f e r e n t p a g i n a t i o n from t h a t of the f i r s t (1973) e d i t i o n ; as w e l l , i t i n c l u d e s n e i t h e r the opening i n s c r i p t i o n , " f o r Margaret," nor the q u o t a t i o n from Edouard G l i s s a n t ' s Le Lezarde (The Rip e n i n g ) , which appear on pages b e f o r e the poem i n both the 1973 and the 1982 e d i t i o n s . These are the onl y d i f f e r e n c e s , however, and the poem i s l a i d out as i t i s i n the f i r s t e d i t i o n w i t h the f o u r books occupying, r e s p e c t i v e l y , 44, 32, 34, and 35 pages. A l l q u o t a t i o n s from the poems throughout t h i s t h e s i s w i l l o f f e r page numbers only, while my r e f e r e n c e s t o The Pre l u d e f o l l o w the convention of i n c l u d i n g both book and l i n e numbers. 11 Chapter One — " A l l That Romantic Taxidermy" Before looking at how Walcott acknowledges, interrogates, and f i n a l l y re-shapes the poetics of nature he i n h e r i t s from/through Wordsworth's The Prelude, i t w i l l be useful to delineate those poetics i n terms of how they represent the Western canon generally, the Romantic movement es p e c i a l l y and, most s p e c i f i c a l l y , Wordsworth himself. Three important aspects of the t r a d i t i o n into which Walcott i s w r iting are: the B i b l i c a l narrative of the garden, f a l l , and redemption; the organizing categories of the b e a u t i f u l and the sublime; and the paradigm of the a r t i s t i n a r e c i p r o c a l and nurturing relationship with nature. Walcott's task i s to include post-colonial r e a l i t i e s i n t h i s Western l i t e r a r y discourse of nature, and to do so, he must work within, yet somehow subvert, a long-established iconography of nature which has excluded or marginalized the non-European. These three aspects central to and continuous throughout Western t r a d i t i o n a l l share an important element: a commitment to a nature which, at least before man's f a l l , was b e a u t i f u l , nurturing, and paradisal. This i s the paradise, the Garden of Eden, of the B i b l i c a l narrative. (Such a paradise i s also found i n C l a s s i c a l writing i n such versions as the Greek Elysian f i e l d s , and the L a t i n locus amoenus.) In English l i t e r a t u r e , the most important version 12 of t h i s narrative i s , of course, Milton's Paradise Lost, and Wordsworth at several points i n The Prelude makes s p e c i f i c a l l u s i o n to t h i s work, reinforc i n g the place of h i s own work within the longer t r a d i t i o n . 5 Besides representing the longer Western t r a d i t i o n of wri t i n g about nature i n terms of the B i b l i c a l Garden and f a l l , The Prelude also represents a Romantic impulse. M.H. Abrams, i n Natural Supernaturalism, claims as t y p i c a l l y Romantic i n i t the move from an early i n t e g r i t y within nature to a f a l l into the divisiveness of a n a l y t i c a l thought, with a redemptive return to oneness with nature. Also t y p i c a l l y Romantic i s that t h i s f i n a l i n t e g r i t y i s on a higher l e v e l which c l e a r l y acknowledges a r e c i p r o c i t y between mind/imagination and nature. Thus, what The Prelude o f f e r s i s a r e t e l l i n g i n secular terms of the B i b l i c a l Paradise/Fall/Redemption narrative, or as Abrams says, a na t u r a l i z i n g of the supernatural. Wordsworth's own use of the trope of a p r e - f a l l Paradise makes such a period in history analogous with childhood i n general, and i n terms of autobiography, with his own childhood and childhood memories i n p a r t i c u l a r . This i s exemplified, i n the following passage, by the image of Wordsworth as a c h i l d bathing i n the r i v e r Derwent and running joyously and f r e e l y through the corresponding landscape. P a r t i c u l a r l y suggestive of Eden i s the naked innocence and the emphasis on i n t e g r i t y with Nature 13 represented by the r e p e t i t i o n of the word "one": Oh! many a time have I, a f i v e years' Child, A naked Boy, i n one d e l i g h t f u l R i l l , A l i t t l e M i l l - r a c e severed from his stream, Made one long bathing of a summer's day, Basked i n the sun, and plunged, and basked again Alternate a l l a summer's day, or coursed Over the sandy f i e l d s , leaping through groves Of yellow grunsel. . . (I, 291-398) Yet even as Wordsworth i s recreating, i n h i s childhood, a B i b l i c a l Eden, he i s modifying that Eden to focus on himself alone i n oneness with nature, thus excluding Eve. As well, the l i n e s immediately following these turn rather quickly to harsher, darker aspects of Nature—the crag, h i l l , and woods—and then to the sublime: "distant Skiddaw's l o f t y height . . . bronzed with a deep radiance" (I, 299-300). The mountain reveals him as "alone beneath the sky" and h i s nakedness i s now judged to be that of "a naked Savage" who " s p o r t [ s ] H " i n wantonness . . . i n the thunder shower" (I, 303-4). Si m i l a r l y , the opening which situates the poet alone i n the landscape places him i n a paradisal s e t t i n g . The gentle breeze o f f e r s blessing, the f i e l d s are green, and i f there are clouds, they are gently wandering ones. The language i s of groves and sweet streams, and in contrast with the c i t y from which the poet has just returned, t h i s i s c l e a r l y 14 Edenic. At the same time, however, although the poet has i n front of him "[l]ong months of peace . . . of ease and undisturbed delight" (1,2 6-29) he must make choices about the journey he i s about to undertake: whither s h a l l I turn / By road or pathway or through open f i e l d , / Or s h a l l a twig or any f l o a t i n g thing / Upon the r i v e r , point me out my course? (I, 29-32). As his a l l u s i o n to Paradise Lost makes clear, h i s stance here i s similar to Adam's outside of the garden: "The earth i s a l l before me."6 His l i m i n a l p o s i t i o n (between paradise and the rest of the world) also suggests the hero of the c l a s s i c a l epic, leaving home to venture into/against the Other which i s the unknown world. What t h i s figure also subtly conflates are the b e a u t i f u l and the sublime, two responses to the Other/nature around which metaphysical thinking has been organized throughout Western i n t e l l e c t u a l history. Herbert Lindenberger, r e f e r r i n g to the poet's statement that he "grew up / Fostered a l i k e by beauty and by fear" (I, 305-6), notes that "Wordsworth quite naturally assumed a dichotomy between conceptions of 'beauty' and 'fear'. . . behind h i s use of these words there stands a whole century of discussion on the nature of the beautiful and the sublime" (23). Lindenberger makes the useful connection between the beautiful/sublime dichotomy and Wordsworth's " t r a i n i n g i n that ancient r h e t o r i c a l t r a d i t i o n which distinguishes between pathos and ethos as the opposing types of emotion 15 which poetry seeks to depict" (25). He argues that "[t]he progress from pathos to ethos i s Wordsworth's image of the his t o r y of his own l i f e , and as such i t provides a pattern of organization for The Prelude" (36). As M.H. Abrams points out, along with these terms Wordsworth "inherited a long t r a d i t i o n of fin d i n g moral and theo l o g i c a l meanings i n the aesthetic q u a l i t i e s of the landscape, as well as of conducting an inquiry into cosmic goodness and j u s t i c e by reference to the contrary a t t r i b u t e s of the natural world" (102). This t r a d i t i o n i n e v i t a b l y excluded those aspects of nature which f i t neither category, and many deconstructionist and New H i s t o r i c i s t c r i t i q u e s of The Prelude and other Romantic writing have focused on such exclusions. Walcott, of course, takes another approach, rewriting The Prelude to include those aspects of nature which challenge the limitations of the discourse. Besides drawing attention to the two p o t e n t i a l categories of the beautiful and the sublime, the opening figure of the poet against the landscape most obviously foregrounds the relationship between poet and nature. Wordsworth uses the wind as a symbol of the poet 1s i n s p i r a t i o n i n Nature, as do so many of the Romantics, Coleridge i n his "Aeolian Harp" for example, or Shelley i n his "Ode to the West Wind." As M.H. Abrams notes i n h i s essay "The Correspondent Breeze: A Romantic Metaphor," The Prelude i s marked from the beginning by i t s use of the 16 recurrent wind as a kind of unobtrusive l e i t m o t i f , "representing the chief theme of continuity and interchange between outer motions and the i n t e r i o r l i f e and powers" (28) . Herbert Lindenberger also comments on Wordsworth's use of wind imagery, as well as of water imagery, pointing out that the dominating images of The Prelude are wind and water, images which by t h e i r very n a t u r e — t h e i r flowing, transforming quality, t h e i r a b i l i t y to in t e r a c t with other natural elements . . . allow the poet free range between the observable world and the higher transcendental r e a l i t y which he wishes to make v i s i b l e to us. Their chief function, one might say, i s to act as intermediaries between the two worlds. (71) Wordsworth's choice of representing nature through some of i t s most p o t e n t i a l l y transforming images r e f l e c t s a t r a d i t i o n of confidence in the p o s s i b i l i t y of regaining a unity between mind and nature. As well, although the images begin i n the everyday where the mind attempts to experience, understand, and even re-create them i n poetry, ultimately they w i l l lead, as i n the Mt. Snowdon v i s i o n with which the poem ends, to the transcendental i d e a l . Lindenberger argues, against "conventional l i t e r a r y h i s t o r y , " that "Wordsworth's attempt to locate visionary 17 power i n natural scenery seems less the beginning of a t r a d i t i o n . . . than the culmination of a way of thinking for which the groundwork has been l a i d long before." For him, the difference i s i n the language Wordsworth was able to devise "for the interaction of the mind with external nature" (94). Lindenberger goes on to say that Wordsworth structured his work around observed images not only because of h i s love of nature, but also because of the epistemology he had inherited. He c i t e s Tuveson's demonstration of how unity of outer and inner follows from Locke's epistemology, but finds Wordsworth's poetry unique not for i t s combination of "sense-impressions of nature with more complex ideas," but for "the peculiar method which he developed to draw the i n t e l l e c t u a l from the v i s u a l " (96). What i s s p e c i f i c a l l y Wordsworthian, according to Lindenberger, i s that he represents the external world only i n order to get beyond i t ; i f he l e t s his i n t e l l e c t u a l i z i n g s e l f intrude, the i n t r u s i o n seems to follow so naturally from the concretely perceived premise with which he started that the reader i s scarcely aware he has crossed the border which commonly separates the simple idea from the complex, the empirical realm from the transcendental." (96) The Western l i t e r a r y discourse of Nature of which The Prelude i s part, then, accepts as given a Nature which represents the Paradise which i s both pre- and a h i s t o r i c , and which i s where history began. Although Wordsworth 18 ins e r t s into t h i s discourse some modifications or reservations, his opening i s c l e a r l y situated i n a Nature which, with i t s gentle breezes, green f i e l d s , and sweet stream, i s suggestive of Eden. Walcott's opening, by contrast, i s set i n a d i s t i n c t l y un-Eden-like t w i l i g h t ocean scene. The sun i s harsh even as i t sets, g l a r i n g and "mesmeriz[ing] l i k e f i r e without wind" (a combination which i s reminiscent of h e l l rather than Eden); i t s decline i s associated both with the end of the B r i t i s h empire and with drunkenness. The sea i s a book whose pages can be read, but the master who could give them meaning i s absent. That t h i s i s a post-lapsarian landscape i s c l e a r l y indicated i n the comment that: "The dream / of reason had produced i t s monster: / a prodigy of the wrong age and colour" (145). S i m i l a r l y , Wordsworth's assertion that each i n d i v i d u a l l i f e begins i n the Paradise of childhood i s questioned by Walcott who turns, as Wordsworth does, from contemplation of the landscape about him, to a meditation on h i s early memories. Like Wordsworth, Walcott remembers hi s childhood s e l f i n association with Nature, but while Wordsworth assigns a unity between s e l f and Nature i n t h i s period, for Walcott, t h i s supposedly Paradisal time was already marred by a d i v i s i o n which i s s i g n i f i e d , at t h i s e a r l i e s t point, by Nature. Walcott associates his childhood s e l f with the Moon, a symbol of inconstancy, and he r e c a l l s h i s e a r l i e s t s i n , that of betraying the Caribbean r e a l i t y by considering 19 i t s "palms / ignobler than imagined elms" and "the breadfruit's splayed leaf coarser than the oak's" (148), and praying "nightly for his f l e s h to change" (149). A comparison of Another L i f e and The Prelude i n terms of t h e i r depiction of childhood forces a questioning of Wordsworth's representation. Walcott, by copying Wordsworth in including a memory of a child' s death i n h i s childhood memoirs, subtly reminds us that Wordsworth's childhood Paradise i s constructed through his narrative choices. Walcott's funeral scene for the c h i l d Pinky (AL, Chapter I, Section III) cannot help but r e c a l l Wordsworth's "Boy of Winander" who "was taken from his Mates, and died / In childhood, ere he was f u l l ten years old" (V, 414-15). S i m i l a r l y , i n Book XI, Wordsworth admits that when he "was then not s i x years old," so young, i n fact, that h i s hand could "scarcely . . . hold a b r i d l e " (XI, 280-1), he came across a Gibbet on which a Murderer had been hanged years e a r l i e r . (This memory i s one of his "spots i n time;" his adult s e l f draws solace from the memory's sure evidence that he has faced and survived adversity i n his early l i f e , and thus, w i l l be able to do so again.) The s t r i k i n g difference between the two poets' childhood memories of death i s , of course, i n the narrative sequencing: Wordsworth chooses to establish childhood as Edenic and only much l a t e r to allow the reader to glimpse i t s other r e a l i t i e s ; Walcott, on the other hand, of f e r s a c h i l d ' s 20 memory of a playmate's death as his f i r s t presentation of childhood, and does t h i s within the poem's opening pages. Another L i f e , then, i n s i s t s on childhood as already enmeshed with and aware of death, and speaks back to a Wordsworthian discourse which attempts to enshrine childhood as Paradise. Discourses of Paradise have, of course, p a r t i c u l a r implications i n c o l o n i a l settings. Many of these settings continue to be exploited for commercial purposes, so that the contemporary t r a v e l industry discourse i s very much continuous with that of Western l i t e r a t u r e . 7 Walcott r e s i s t s t h i s depiction of his island as a t r o p i c a l Paradise, countering with such r e a l i t i e s as "a stinging haze / of thorn trees bent l i k e green flames by the Trades . . . while the asphalt sweats i t s mirages and the beaks / of f l e d g l i n g ginger l i l i e s gasped for r a i n " (194), more suggestive of H e l l than Paradise. It i s an island of decidedly non-pastoral storms: "Lightning frequently / crackled across the watersheds, thunder / r a t t l e d the sky's tightened parchment" (253). Instead of being only a place of perfect beginnings, t h i s island i s one of many which c o n s t r i c t s with i t s own hopelessness: "He haunted beaches, / the horizon tightened round his throat . . . The islands were a s t r i n g of barges towed nowhere, / every view / assembling i t s e l f to say farewell" (253). Paradoxically, at exactly the moment i n which Walcott denies that the Caribbean i s Edenic, he embraces the myth by 21 stepping into the role of Adam, and naming i t s r e a l i t i e s . For Walcott, the only redemption possible for t h i s already corrupt landscape into which Caribbean man i s born comes through the Adamic act of naming. This i s most c l e a r l y indicated i n his claim that he and Gregorias, when l i t were "the l i g h t of the world," Christ-figures who "were b l e s t with a v i r g i n a l , unpainted world / with Adam's task of giving things t h e i r names" (294). (This i s , though, admittedly a retrospective claim made in the past tense; i t i s not at a l l clear that he retains any such confidence during h i s m i d - l i f e writing of t h i s poem.) Yet t h i s sense of consecration to a redemptive task must encompass the revelation of t h i s yet-unpainted world as d i s t i n c t l y non-Edenic: "we swore . . . that we would . . . put down, i n paint, i n words . . . a l l of i t s sunken, leaf-choked ravines, / every neglected, s e l f - p i t y i n g i n l e t / muttering i n brackish d i a l e c t , / the ropes of mangroves / from which old s o l d i e r crabs slipped / surrendering to slush, / each ochre track seeking some h i l l t o p and / losing i t s e l f i n an unfinished phrase" (194). Not only i s the landscape Walcott names not as p r i s t i n e as Adam's, but the language which he must use i s also compromised by previous use. When Walcott says that "no one had yet written of t h i s landscape / that i t was possible" (195), he suggests an already-existing discourse which i s inadequate or exclusive. When he speaks of the v a r i e t i e s 22 of wood which respond to t h e i r sounds but are not yet named, he likens them to "bastard children, hiding i n t h e i r names"; of these children, "whole generations died, unchristened" (195). He can never be t r u l y Adamic, then; an established t r a d i t i o n of naming has already created the i l l e g i t i m a c y . His task i s r e a l l y more l i k e Christ's: He must name, baptize, Christ-en the post-colonial r e a l i t y into a system of legitimacy. As Christ, he must always act i n r e l a t i o n to The Father, who i s , from the beginning of t h i s narrative, "an absent master / i n the middle of another l i f e " (145). 8 Nevertheless, Walcott does i n s i s t on celebrating h i s "task of giving things t h e i r names," thereby perhaps attempting to redeem his e a r l i e r inconstancy i n p r e f e r r i n g elms to breadfruit. Again, however, the Adamic q u a l i t y of his cataloguing i s curiously compromised by the intensely connotative language he uses. Much of the f l o r a of the region, for example, i s described with m i l i t a r y associations. Thus there are the "coconut lances" (145), the "disconsolate plumes / of the cabbage palms' casques" (176), and "the golden cocoa's tattered epaulettes" (179). The allamandas* flowers suggest "bugles" but "nobody charges" (156). As the allamandas f a l l , they are nevertheless "medalling the shoulders of the l a s t v i s i t o r " (256), while other flowers "medalled the gravestones of the I n n i s k i l l i n g s " (172). The language t h i s Adam must use to inscribe the f l o r a 23 of the Caribbean i s weighted with other associations and experiences besides the m i l i t a r y ones. The bougainvillea which grows outside the poet's childhood home, for example, i s described as having thorns which "moult l i k e o l d f i n g e r n a i l s " (156), s i g n a l l i n g i t s association with the home and thus with the poet's mother, now dead from cancer. And in the following passage which inscribes such t r o p i c a l r e a l i t i e s as banyans, mangroves, gibbons ( i f only obliquely), whelk pickers, lagoons, and red s o l d i e r crabs, the language suggests some inescapable hierarchies: p a t r i c a r c h a l banyans, bearded with vines from which black schoolboys qibboned. brooded on a lagoon seasoned with dead leaves, mangroves knee-deep i n water crouched l i k e whelk pickers on brown, spindly legs scattering red soldier crabs scrabbling for redcoats' meat (148, my emphasis) What i s also fascinating about t h i s extremely connotative passage i s the Ovidean ambiguity created through both metaphors and syntax. The humans turn into animals while the trees become brooding bearded patriarchs and whelk pickers. I t i s unclear whether the mangroves scatter the red s o l d i e r crabs or whether that i s done by the whelk pickers (who exis t only as metaphor). 24 As well as the t r o p i c a l f l o r a and fauna, t h i s Adam must t r y to name into the Western l i t e r a r y discourse a climate which i s not yet represented. In place of Wordsworth's gentle breezes, clouds, and mists, there i s the mesmerizing sun (145). Its setting and dawn are " l i k e manacles [which] chafed h i s wrist" (217), thus r e c a l l i n g the Caribbean h i s t o r y of slavery. Twilight i s also associated with drunkenness: "as i t s amber climbed / the beer-stein ovals of the B r i t i s h f o r t / above the promontory, the sky / grew drunk with l i g h t " (145). This drunkenness i s a minor theme throughout, associated not only with the B r i t i s h m i l i t a r y — "colonels i n the whisky-coloured l i g h t " (148)—but also with Gregorias and his father. Gregorias i s also compared to the sun: the poet says that he so christened him because Gregorias "sounds explosive, / a black Greek's! A sun that stands back / from the f i r e of i t s e l f , not shamed, p r i z i n g / i t s shadow, watching i t blaze!" (294). The poet's f i r s t love, Anna, i s also described i n terms of the sun, which i s dated from her b i r t h : "The sixteen-year-old sun / plates her with l i g h t " (229). Not only does the sun date from her b i r t h , but Anna becomes the sun for the young poet as "he wished himself moving / yet forever there. / The disc of the world turned / slowly, she was i t s centre" (229). This i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of his love i n t e r e s t s with the sun continues when, much la t e r i n l i f e , he begins a prayer by c a l l i n g the sun "holy," and then addresses h i s 25 wife, Margaret, as holy, saying there i s nothing for him now but to " s i t i n the sun to burn" (290). He goes on to remember Anna, saying that he wishes "to have burnt out desire, / l u s t , except for the sun / with her corona of f i r e " (290). Thus the two women are connected through t h i s imagery, which establishes them as central i n h i s l i f e , but also as p o t e n t i a l l y destructive. The sun's dominance i n that landscape i s c l e a r l y indicated i n the poet's prayer when he i s "[bjurned i n the pyre of the sun" and s i t s i n i t s roar " l i k e a lotus yogi folded on h i s bed of coals [his] head . . . c i r c l e d with a ri n g of f i r e " (288). His prayerful references to i t as "my son, my sun" (289) of f e r the potential of an a l t e r n a t i v e to the imposed Chr i s t i a n "Son" deity. Despite (or because of) i t s c l e a r l y destructive potential, he prays towards i t s "holy, r e p e t i t i v e resurrection" and he "repeat[s] [him]self / prayer, same prayer, towards f i r e , same f i r e / as the sun repeats i t s e l f " (289) . F i n a l l y , however, as much as he can t r y to make the language new by describing his own landscape, the Adamic Walcott must work within an established iconography of nature; a f t e r he has added to i t , he must also challenge or subvert that discourse. (Thus, according to Harold Bloom, he i s as much Satanic as he i s Adamic.9) In The Prelude, Wordsworth uses imagery and symbols which have a long-established meaning within Western l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n . The 26 r i v e r , f o r i n s t a n c e , i s o f t e n u s e d t o r e f e r t o j u s t t h a t t r a d i t i o n . The b r e e z e , as Abrams has p o i n t e d o u t , h a s a s p e c i f i c a l l y R o m a n t i c a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h c r e a t i v i t y . W a l c o t t d o e s u s e some o f t h e same sym b o l s and images o f n a t u r e a s W o rdsworth, b u t m o d i f i e s them t o b e t t e r r e p r e s e n t t h e l a n d s c a p e o r n a t u r e he i n h a b i t s as w e l l a s t o s u i t h i s themes. W h i l e he d o e s t h i s , W a l c o t t i s a l s o c h a l l e n g i n g t h e t r a d i t i o n a l c a t e g o r i e s o f b e a u t i f u l / s u b l i m e . T h e s e c a t e g o r i e s , o f c o u r s e , l e a v e no room f o r any p o l i t i c a l a g e n c y . They a l l o w o n l y t h e q u i e t i s m w h i c h must be t h e i n e v i t a b l e r e s p o n s e t o a e s t h e t i c p e r f e c t i o n , o r t h e f e a r and awe w h i c h p a r a l y s e , t h u s p r e c l u d i n g any p o s s i b i l i t y o f c h a n g e . P e r h a p s some o f Wordsworth's s i l e n c e s 1 0 r e f l e c t h i s d i s c o m f o r t w i t h t h i s e x c l u d i n g d i c h o t o m y , b u t The P r e l u d e d o e s f i n a l l y p e r p e t u a t e t h e t r a d i t i o n . The A damic W a l c o t t who i n h e r i t s t h i s d i s c o u r s e must name t h e t a w d r y , t h e p a t h e t i c , and e v e n t h e c o m i c as c h a l l e n g e s t o t h e e x c l u s i v e c a t e g o r i e s o f b e a u t i f u l and s u b l i m e . W o rdsworth makes s e v e r a l r e f e r e n c e s t o t h e s e a t h r o u g h o u t The P r e l u d e , g e n e r a l l y a s s e r t i n g i t a s e i t h e r b e a u t i f u l ( o r t h e R o m a n t i c v a r i a n t t h e r e o f — t h e p i c t u r e s q u e ) o r s u b l i m e . I n Book IV, f o r example, i t f o r m s p a r t o f a " g l o r i o u s " l a n d s c a p e : " M a g n i f i c e n t / The m o r n i n g was, a memorable pomp, / More g l o r i o u s t h a n I e v e r h a d b e h e l d . / The Sea was l a u g h i n g a t a d i s t a n c e " ( 3 3 0 - 3 5 ) . I t moves f r o m 27 t h i s category to the sublime and back i n Book V, when hi s f r i e n d f a l l s asleep by i t s shores and has h i s strange dream about the Arab with the Books of Stone and S h e l l , which the "waters of the deep" (V.130), the " f l e e t waters of the drowning world" (V.136) threaten to o b l i t e r a t e . Some ambiguity i n the Sea's depiction i s suggested i n Book XIII when "the Sea, the r e a l Sea . . . seemed to dwindle and give up i t s majesty" (XIII.49-50), but only to be replaced by another " s t i l l Ocean" formed by the reversal of perception which sees the mountains as a huge sea, and which allows the redemptive v i s i o n which culminates the work. Walcott's metaphors for the ocean a l l e s t a b l i s h i t as very material and tangible. Yet some do suggest the sublime: when he describes i t as animal, the animal i s either somewhat dangerously furred and clawed (263), or stunningly huge-eyed, a creature whose waves are lumbering blows from "weary, pelagic eyelids" (198). And although a human sea i s obviously less than sublime, Walcott's p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n gives i t the mouth of an "old gravekeeper / white-headed, lantern-jawed" (293). But i f these metaphors do evoke something of the sublime, his sublime i s very d i f f e r e n t from that of Wordsworth for whom the transcendental sublime i s f i n a l l y a welcome i n v i t a t i o n back to an integrated relationship with Nature. Walcott, instead, finds i t impersonal, i n d i f f e r e n t , and o b l i t e r a t i n g . The sea he describes i s , i f sometimes sublime, an aspect of 28 nature which offers no nurture or guidance but which merely denies: "0 oceanic past / we were l i k e children / emptying the A t l a n t i c with an enamel cup. / I crouched under each crest / the sneering wave . . . " (208). Here the sea i s associated with history, which f i n a l l y , l i k e Naipaul's comments, renders the Caribbean a r t i s t s i r r e l e v a n t . Walcott's references to the sea suggest both the o b l i t e r a t i n g power of the book/history and the Caribbean's absolute lack of history. The sea i s r e a l l y the Caribbean's h i s t o r y book. Not only did i t bring the B r i t i s h masters, but i t also, of course, carried the slaves from A f r i c a to St. Lucia, and i t continues to separate the Caribbean subject from both ancestral lands. The poet searches i t for a record of his "white grandfather's face" or h i s "black grandfather's voice" (208). It ca r r i e s a l l history, both the recorded of Albion, Sidon, Tyre, and Byzantium (208), and the unrecorded of the "Madrasi, the Mandingo, the Ashanti" (285). And the sea which c a r r i e s a l l t h i s history i s i n d i f f e r e n t to i t : The sand had seen battalions come and go the vines had written t h e i r memorials, a l l of that cannon f i r e taken up by cloud. Nothing had altered the t e a l or mallard's route, a l l that s a l t blood thinned out i n the s a l t surf There was no history. No memory. 29 Rocks haunted by seabirds, that was a l l . (256) Like the flooding waters which threaten to overtake and drown Wordsworth's Arab and his precious books, Walcott's sea o f f e r s to o b l i t e r a t e history, allowing us to begin again, but at the cost of rendering the poet's work ir r e l e v a n t . The Adamic Walcott attempts to counter t h i s o b l i t e r a t i n g e f f e c t by h i s act of naming the aspects of the ocean which cannot be confined under the headings of b e a u t i f u l or sublime. He describes i t i n very quotidian and material terms, thus creating some space for questioning i t s mastery. The most recurrent image, and that which introduces the sea likens i t to a book: "pages of the sea . . . t h i s ocean's a shut book" (145). Although there i s something of the transcendent in t h i s image, i t i s also very tangible, material, and contained. After a l l , the reader of these l i n e s holds a book and the speaker i s creating one. S i m i l a r l y , the engine to which the sea i s compared, which might suggest the powerful and even the sublime (150, 292), turns out to be the very quotidian engine of a i r -conditioners. The ocean's shallows are described as servers i n a Catholic procession, another metaphor drawn from the Island's d a i l y l i f e . Walcott also turns the book into a t r i t e "catalogue / of s h e l l s and algae" (24) , and draws attention to the tawdry by personifying the ocean as a s l u t : "Lost, l o s t , rain-hidden, precipitous, debased, / ocean's 30 s o i l e d lace around her d i r t y ankle" (182). Both Walcott and Wordsworth use the moon as a cen t r a l image. For Wordsworth, again, the moon can be part of either a beautiful (or picturesque) landscape as i n h i s claim that, just as he loved the sun, so to him was the moon "dear" allowing him to "dream away my purposes, / Standing to look upon her while she hung / Midway between the h i l l s , as i f she knew / No other region but belonged to thee . . . and thy grey huts, my darling Vale!" (11.196-202). Or i t i s part of the sublime as i n the Mt. Snowdon re v e l a t i o n of Book XIII where the "Moon stood naked i n the Heavens" (XIII.41), and "looked down upon t h i s shew [of mountains transformed into Ocean] / i n single glory" (XIII.52-3). Walcott draws on t r a d i t i o n a l Western iconography which reads the moon as a symbol of inconstancy and re v e r s a l . I have already pointed out that the poet's childhood s e l f , as her subject, i s g u i l t y of such inconstancy as betraying the palms and breadfruit of his island for the elms and oak of the colonizer's (148). The same inconstancy a f f e c t s the poet's islan d audience; they "have drunk the moon-milk" and are now only "poor negatives," to whom he i s unsure how to t e l l h i s story, a story which w i l l return him to an e a r l i e r moon which has long since faded "with the elate e x t i n c t i o n of a bulb" (151). This l a s t image of the moon often l i n k s i t , i n Another L i f e , with the sea; the sea i s the book and the moon i s the lightbulb which illuminates i t . Again, the 31 Mt. Snowdon scene i s re c a l l e d but with the difference that Walcott i s , instead of recounting himself i n such a scene, looking back at the figure of another poet poised between sea and moon—that of his now-dead teacher and mentor, Harry Simmons. A l l of these images of the moon seem to r e s i s t a confinement to either the beautiful or the sublime. Although the moon has the power to whiten the islanders and to magnify "the l i f e beneath her l i k e a reading glass" (149), t h i s i s undercut both by the p e r s o n i f i c a t i o n which establishes her as a s l u t 1 1 who lends the town her lace (152) and whose fingers stroke the sea, and the sim i l e which likens her to a bulb which, after a l l , can be turned on and off , and must, eventually, wear out, fading to ex t i n c t i o n . As well, she i s presented as rather comic i n the l i n e , "a moon ballooned up from the Wireless Station" (146). Yet the sublime i s acknowledged. The writer's "dun f l e s h , " f or example, i s "peeled white by her lightning strokes," surely a t e r r i f y i n g , or sublime, image. And i n an image which again l i n k s moon and sea, "the enormous, l i d l e s s eyeball of the moon" swims "towards us . . . gibbering with silen c e , struck / by something i t cannot answer / or the worst, the worst, an oceanic nothing" (263-4). If Walcott has been able to introduce into the discourse s l i g h t modifications to the r i g i d categorization of c e r t a i n accepted symbols of Nature as either b e a u t i f u l or 32 sublime, h i s almost complete r e j e c t i o n of the symbol of the wind or breeze marks the difference between h i s and Wordsworth's depiction of the rela t i o n s h i p between a r t i s t and Nature. Walcott chooses instead to invoke the a r t i s t ' s use of amber. This naturally derived substance (a f o s s i l i z e d pine sap) i s used as a f i x a t i v e , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the most canonized representations of Western a r t . References to i t , then, allow Walcott to allude economically to the canon and to the a r t i s t i c process. As well, the p a r t i c u l a r greenish cast which i t imparts to the painted surface i s analogous to the inevitable colouring of the viewer's (or reader's) perception which i s inherent i n any form of art, and as Edward Baugh points out, to the t r a n s f i g u r i n g r o l e played by the "amber glaze of the poet's memory/imagination . . . [which] [p]aradoxically . . . actualises and i d e a l i s e s at the same time" (89). 1 2 Wordsworth's continual moves from synaesthetic descriptions of material Nature to those of an i n e f f a b l e transcendent one r e f l e c t his attempts to move back to a reassuring oneness, to a relationship between Nature and Mind i n which Nature i s accepted as primary guide and nurturer, yet wherein there i s r e c i p r o c i t y between the two. Walcott's more painterly approach r e f l e c t s h i s own more ambivalent relationship with Nature. His i s a Nature which ins p i r e s and challenges the a r t i s t , o f f e r i n g him "a v i r g i n a l , unpainted world" (294), but which continually 33 f r u s t r a t e s him, o b l i t e r a t i n g any achievement and overwhelming him with indifference. Walcott's a r t i s t s t r y to achieve mastery over the landscape/nature. Gregorias, for example, marches towards the A t l a n t i c with "the easel r i f l e d on his shoulder," l i k e a s o l d i e r going into b a t t l e . He sings "0 Paradiso" u n t i l "the western breakers laboured to that music" while h i s canvas i s " c r u c i f i e d against a tree" (194). This twisted passage which economically incorporates references to both paradise and redemption (through art?) turns Wordsworth's r e c i p r o c i t y into something more s i n i s t e r : Gregorias i s able to make the waves submit to the domination of his song, yet h i s canvas i s f i n a l l y c r u c i f i e d against a tree. Walcott draws on his own early f r u s t r a t i o n s as a developing painter to describe a Nature which r e f l e c t s h i s inadequacy back to him. If the poem o v e r a l l i s an attempt to f i n d some meaning to the poet's p o s i t i o n v i s a v i s the landscape, the conceit of Nature as an impatient s i t t e r posing for an inadequate a r t i s t , i s a wonderfully e f f e c t i v e , i f poignant way of underlining that theme. Thus the landscape "frowns at i t s image" over the painter's shoulder, while "the mountain's crouching back begins to ache," and " l i k e a t i r e d s i t t e r / the world s h i f t s i t s weight" (197-8). When Walcott's references to Van Gogh ("Dear Theo") remind us that other a r t i s t s have gone mad i n response to t h i s challenge, his language echoes Lear i n h i s question, 34 "Is that where i t l i e s , / i n the l i g h t of that l e a f , the g l i n t / of some gu l l y . . . Nature i s a f i r e / through the door of t h i s landscape / I have entered a furnace" (199). 1 3 This question, together with the following comment that "I have t o i l e d a l l of l i f e for t h i s f a i l u r e " (200) also r e c a l l s Wordsworth's "Was i t for t h i s ? " 1 4 But Wordsworth, of course, i s looking backward, wondering i f i t was to allow him to reach t h i s l e v e l of poetic awareness and s k i l l that the f a i r Derwent River nurtured him through childhood. The d i f f i c u l t question seems deliberately balanced by the nurturing security of a very tame nature. Walcott, instead, i s looking to the frightening future p o s s i b i l i t i e s which are part of submitting to the poet's rel a t i o n s h i p with a nature much more dangerous than Wordsworth i s w i l l i n g to admit. For Walcott, then, rather than the option of a r e c i p r o c a l l y nurturing and creative r e l a t i o n s h i p between mind and nature, the choice i s rather of struggle, submission, or o b l i t e r a t i o n . His mentor and painting teacher retreats into nature, Gauguin-like. As he contemplates his canvas, a "spider began to thread / easel to bedstead" (262). This image, which again r e c a l l s Van Gogh's tortured struggle with art, also foregrounds the d i f f i c u l t y of the a r t i s t ' s task which i s ultimately an attempt to come to terms with nature, knowing that nature which always outlast and supersede the a r t i s t ' s e f f o r t s . Yet the true a r t i s t cannot r e s i s t the challenge, and 35 Simmons' death i s foreshadowed by his claim, again i n a p a i n t e r l y metaphor, that i t "would be worth i t to f a l l / with the meteor's orange brushstroke / from a f a l l i n g hand, to hope / there i s painting i n heaven" (267-8). This gorgeous image paradoxically asserts the ascendancy of nature—how could an a r t i s t hope for an acceptable mimesis of a f i e r y meteor—yet depicts the meteor i t s e l f as only a dying painter's accidental brushstroke. The self-immolation implied i n the association of the meteor with Simmons' eventual suicide i s subtly r e c a l l e d i n Walcott's f i n a l address to his fr i e n d and fellow a r t i s t . "Gregorias," he says, " l i s t e n , l i t , we were the l i g h t of the world!" (294). Not only does t h i s image acknowledge the destructive aspect of attempting to redeem the world, but i t also, i n i t s use of the past tense, contrasts with The Prelude's closing exhortation to Coleridge. In the l a t t e r , Wordsworth, with a confidence restored by a v i s i o n of a nurturing Nature, pledges himself and Coleridge as "Prophets of Nature" to i n s t r u c t others "how the mind of man becomes / A thousand times more beautiful than the earth / On which he dwells" (589). Examining his past r e l a t i o n s h i p with Nature gives him the a b i l i t y to face the future with f a i t h and hope. Walcott's similar examination, however, reminds him of a time when he had similar hope and optimism, an optimism which i s not e n t i r e l y abandoned, but i s now modified to a resigned commitment to "beginning again." 3 6 Chapter Two - "What Else Was He But a Divided Child?" In h i s treatment of the divided s e l f , Walcott once again both claims and modifies an inheritance transmitted through and represented by The Prelude. Through Wordsworth, Walcott i n h e r i t s a t r a d i t i o n long imbedded i n English l i t e r a t u r e . In t h i s t r a d i t i o n , the divided s e l f i s presented as a f a l l away from an o r i g i n a l paradisal i n t e g r i t y with nature, a f a l l brought about through man's own f a u l t (in Wordsworth, the f a u l t of over- a n a l y t i c a l thought). This i m p e r i a l i s t t r a d i t i o n ignores the c o l o n i a l condition of being born into a post-lapsarian world; i t i s Walcott's task to modify the model by describing h i s own divided s e l f as being, i f a " f a l l e n " condition, then one which i s not his f a u l t but his inheritance. He s i m i l a r l y accepts and modifies the inheritance of a model whereby the poet celebrates, by the very act of writing, that same d i v i s i o n he claims as a f a l l e n and lamentable condition. F i n a l l y , Walcott i n h e r i t s through Wordsworth the i n c l i n a t i o n to write towards i n t e g r i t y . Here, his modification i s that while he too f i n a l l y presents a formally integrated autobiographical s e l f , he achieves t h i s by a r t i c u l a t i n g doubts and di v i s i o n s rather than s i l e n c i n g or denying them. The c r i s i s which shapes The Prelude i s that of the d i v i s i o n within Wordsworth, ostensibly occasioned by h i s response to the French Revolution (or his response to the English reaction to that revolution). This c r i s i s 3 7 interrupts an e a r l i e r i n t e g r i t y , an i n t e g r i t y which i s ultimately restored through a return to an acceptance of the natural order. The pattern here i s not only that of the B i b l i c a l model of Paradise - F a l l - Redemption. I t i s also, as M.H. Abrams points out, the pattern of the Romantic philosophy which secularizes t h i s model, re t a i n i n g i t s assertion of an i n i t i a l unity followed by a f a l l i n g out of or away from t h i s into "a position of remoteness and . . . a l i e n a t i o n " with an eventual return to unity and perfection thanks to a "cohesive and sustaining supernatural energy" (152) . As Abrams sums up Romantic philosophy, the primal fracture r e s u l t i n g from man's r e f l e c t i o n and philosophizing i s "conceived of as having two d i v i s i o n s , one cognitive and the other moral." While the f i r s t of these i s seen i n a d i v i s i o n between mind and outer nature, the second manifests i t s e l f i n a s p l i t within the nature of man himself . . . . In i t s moral dimension . . . the loss of the mind's o r i g i n a l unity with i t s e l f . . . through man's emergent awareness of an opposition and c o n f l i c t between that 'nature' which i s the substratum of h i s human nature (man's natural i n s t i n c t s , desires, and compulsions . . . ) and his subjective 'reason' (the capacity to distinguish alternative choices which are r i g h t or wrong) together with h i s 38 subjective realm of 'freedom' (the capacity to choose what i s ri g h t and reject what i s wrong). (182) Wordsworth's description of himself continually r e f l e c t s a sense of s p l i t t i n g : i n the beginning l i n e s , for example, he narrates being able, "by miraculous g i f t " to shake o f f "[t]hat burthen of my own unnatural s e l f " (1.21-23); l a t e r , he t e l l s the reader that when he thinks back to h i s early l i f e , he sometimes seems "[T]wo consciousnesses" (11.32). Later s t i l l , Wordsworth speaks of moments i n which "such a holy calm / Did overspread my soul, that I forgot / That I had bodily eyes" (11.367-369). In such moments of overcoming his bodily or sensory s e l f , the poet achieves a unity: . . . i n a l l things I saw one l i f e , and f e l t that i t was joy. One song they sang, and i t was audible, Most audible then when the f l e s h l y ear, O'ercome by grosser prelude of that s t r a i n , Forgot i t s functions, and slept undisturbed. As Abrams points out, t h i s i s Wordsworth's own version of the Romantic philosophy: unity with himself and his world i s the primal and normative state of man, of which the sign i s a fu l l n e s s of shared l i f e and the condition of joy; ana l y t i c thought divides the mind from nature and 39 o b j e c t from o b j e c t , and t h i s d i v i s i o n , i f ab s o l u t e , k i l l s the o b j e c t i t severs and t h r e a t e n s w i t h s p i r i t u a l death the mind from which i t has been severed." (278) T h i s r e a d i n g of the poem, though perhaps not comprehensive, i s a s a t i s f y i n g one which p r o v i d e s a very u s e f u l summary of the concept of the d i v i d e d s e l f i n h e r i t e d by Walcott. Walcott takes t h i s i n h e r i t a n c e — a s e l f - d i v i s i o n which p r o v i d e s the c e n t r a l s t r u c t u r i n g c r i s i s not o n l y of an a r t i s t ' s l i f e but a l s o of h i s work (or v i c e v e r s a ? ) — a n d both endorses and m o d i f i e s i t . H i s endorsement of the t r a d i t i o n i s found i n h i s i n s c r i p t i o n of the d i v i s i o n he ex p e r i e n c e s : between h i s b l a c k / C a r i b b e a n / A f r i c a n and h i s white/European a n c e s t r y and c u l t u r e . Walcott a l s o w r i t e s about the t u r m o i l occasioned by the d i v i s i o n between h i s d e s i r e t o p a i n t and h i s g r e a t e r s k i l l as a poet. F i n a l l y , as a poet w r i t i n g i n middle age, he i s d i v i d e d by the memory of h i s y o u t h f u l optimism and the more pragmatic r e s i g n a t i o n of m a t u r i t y . 1 5 Where Walcott m o d i f i e s the t r a d i t i o n i s i n i n s i s t i n g t h a t r a t h e r than f a l l i n g i n t o d i v i s i o n , such d i v i s i o n i s , i n f a c t , a normal p a r t of the c o l o n i a l c o n d i t i o n . He i s born not i n t o u n i t y and i n t e g r i t y but i n t o a language marked by such c o l o n i a l i s m . The t i t l e f o r the f i r s t c hapter of Another L i f e — " T h e D i v i d e d C h i l d " — i s Walcott's strenuous p r o t e s t a g a i n s t Wordsworth's claims f o r the i n t e g r i t y of 40 childhood. Walcott i n s i s t s that "from childhood he'd considered palms / ignobler than imagined elms" (148) and "had prayed / nightly for his f l e s h to change, / h i s dun f l e s h peeled white by her lightning strokes!" (148-9). His own imagination's i d e a l i z a t i o n of Europe divided the c h i l d Walcott from his d a i l y experiences; the nightly prayer for skin to match his imagination i s a poignant demonstration of i n t e r n a l d i v i s i o n and self-hatred. S i m i l a r l y , the diverging directions i n which the c h i l d i s pulled are demonstrated by the bedtime juxtaposition of the "magic lantern shows" of the "black lamplighter with Demeter's torch" with his Classical/Western "children's l i t e r a t u r e " represented by Nathaniel Hawthorne's Tanqlewood Tales and Charles Kingsley's Heroes (158). The two stanzas which describe the lamplighter frame the two which describe the boy i n bed, forming a contrast between hi s comfortable home and the surrounding wild. Outside i s magical transformation as iron trees are ignited, and the c e i l i n g " r e e l s " with the r e f l e c t i o n of t h i s action. This magic i s associated with the lamplighter's blackness, and both with the darkness of night as well as with the nearby shacks. Ascribing Demeter's torch to the black lamplighter i s a r e f l e c t i o n of the boy's awareness that, although not recorded i n the white/literary/Anglicized education he i s receiving, there i s nonetheless potential for story i n the everyday f o l k experience surrounding him. 41 Iri the daytime, the boy learns the hist o r y of h i s European grandfathers and imagines himself i n b a t t l e against the Other which represents part of himself: "I butchered fellaheen, thuggees, Mamelukes, wogs." (211) The c h i l d ' s imagined r e l a t i o n of himself to t h i s classroom h i s t o r y i s of one " l i k e a ribbed mongrel / t r a i l i n g the fading legions" (214). Wordsworth experienced l i t t l e unhappiness at school although Cambridge proved a t r i a l i n his l a t e r adolescence. The f i r s t two books of The Prelude d e t a i l a childhood i n a determinedly joyous manner. Even when Wordsworth and h i s schoolmates " l i v e d / Through three d i v i s i o n s of the quartered year / i n pennyless poverty" (11.83-85), he presents such poverty i n posit i v e terms, saying that "we knew the blessing then / of vigorous hunger" (11.80-81, my emphasis). Walcott instead focuses on the curriculum which g l o r i f i e d h i s European heritage while teaching him to f e e l ashamed of, or ignore as irrelevant, h is A f r i c a n ancestry. Further evidence of dividing forces i n Walcott's childhood i s found i n Chapter Four, the chapter which juxtaposes C h r i s t i a n i t y with "negromancy." That t h i s was a very early d i v i s i o n , and that i t was perceived at the l e v e l of the body, the threshold of the s e l f ( i . e . on a personal l e v e l ) , i s clear i n the following l i n e s : The cloven hoof, the hairy paw despite the passionate, pragmatic Methodism of my infancy. 42 crawled through the thicket of my hair, t i l l sometimes the skin p r i c k l e d even i n sunshine at "negromancy.11 (166, my emphasis) Walcott plays with the alternate s p e l l i n g of "necromancy" strengthening the emphasis on the association between the "black a r t s " and his black skin; as well, the word i s placed to rhyme with and play against "infancy." In h i s insistence on "the body's memory" (167) which holds t h i s atavism and which i s also the place "where A f r i c a began" (167), Walcott points to a history and a geography which render h i s childhood a divided one far d i f f e r e n t from the paradisal state which Wordsworth describes. The pain of t h i s d i v i s i o n i s obvious, and i t i s a palpable presence i n Walcott's l i f e from h i s e a r l i e s t days. Instead of Wordsworth's delayed plunge into despair a f t e r the French Revolution, Walcott experiences t h i s fragmentation and separation continuously, even throughout the most j o y f u l episodes of his youth; i t i s exemplified by h i s r elationships with Gregorias and Anna. With his best fr i e n d and fellow painting student, Gregorias, the young poet shares a commitment to "never leave the islan d / u n t i l we had put down, in paint, i n words . . . a l l of i t s sunken, leaf-choked ravines . . . " (194). Yet t h i s friendship which bolsters Walcott's commitment also makes him more aware of his own internal d i v i s i o n . For Walcott desperately wished to paint but had to admit that "I 43 l i v e d i n a d i f f e r e n t g i f t , / i t s element metaphor, / while Gregorias would draw with the li n e a r e l a t i o n of an e e l " (201). Gregorias i s associated with the Black-ness and the f o l k / o r a l , with Walcott's own African heritage. Thus there i s a focus on his "black nudes gleaming sweat, / i n the t i g e r shade of the fronds" as well as on the cherubim which he renders "brown-bottomed" (203). Although h i s work i s "grotesque," i t i s "whole" (201), and he "possess[es] / aboriginal force" (201). Walcott c l e a r l y admires both his friend's a r t , and h i s a b i l i t y to "abandon[] apprenticeship / to the errors of h i s own soul" (201). He finds himself incapable of such spontaneity, separated from t h i s p o s s i b i l i t y by h i s European-colonial education: "my hand was crabbed by that s t y l e , / t h i s epoch, / that school / or the next" (201). While Gregorias i s "bent to his handful of earth" (203) for i n s p i r a t i o n , Walcott pores over books of reproductions i n his father's l i b r a r y . 1 6 The chapters which celebrate "mad, divine Gregorias / imprisoned in his choice" (208) (lines which suggest that the d i v i s i o n cannot be resolved s i m p l i s t i c a l l y , that Gregorias' choice also comes at a cost) close p a i n f u l l y with the image of a "thin, / tortured c h i l d " (209) l i s t e n i n g to the sea voice of his black grandfather and looking i n the sea-wrack for the face of his white grandfather. Si m i l a r l y , the poet's f i r s t love i s marked by i n t e r n a l V 44 c o n f l i c t s ; these c o n f l i c t s l i n e up an i d e a l i z i n g and courtly love associated with whiteness against sexual f e e l i n g s which are associated with blackness. Anna i s always described as l i g h t , golden, and sun-like. She i s a European Anna, drawn from l i t e r a t u r e and art, an "Anna of the wheatfield and the weir . . . of the s o l i d winter r a i n . . . of the smoky platform and the cold t r a i n . " She i s " a l l Annas, enduring a l l goodbyes . . . C h r i s t i e , Karenina, big-boned and passive" (238). Although the mature poet can now imagine Anna replying, "I am simple, I was simpler then" (242), the younger poet's imagination transformed Anna so that she "became, i n fact, another country" (238) i n response to his need. As such, she provided the idealized, created woman of the sunlight who countered the young man's baser fascinations. The contrast she provides i s cle a r e s t i n the following l i n e s which are set apart from, but immediately follow, l i n e s i n which the words "lechery" or "lecherous" occurs four times i n nine l i n e s , associating that lechery with women of colour, both "the Indian woman you fin g e r -poked i n the doorway" and the . . . Negro whore on the drawing-room f l o o r under the s i l e n t p o r t r a i t s of your parents, while Anna slept, her golden body l i k e a lamp blown out. (228) The young poet's sexual g u i l t here i s c l e a r l y associated with r a c i a l g u i l t . 1 7 His sexual a t t r a c t i o n to women who, l i k e him, are (of colour) i s s i n f u l "lechery"; to t h i s , the white/golden Anna can only be the v i r g i n a l antidote. Cl e a r l y then, although Walcott does describe joyous episodes i n his youth, his early memories do not a f f o r d him the same nourishment that Wordsworth's do. Wordsworth's r e c o l l e c t i o n s , p a r t i c u l a r l y his "spots i n time," not only provide continuity between his childhood and h i s mature s e l f but also lead him back towards i n t e g r i t y . Since Walcott's childhood already encompassed d i v i s i o n , there i s no such i n t e g r i t y to which he can return. By modifying t h i s inheritance of an insistence on childhood as an unblemished, happy time, Walcott has broadened the discourse, not only a r t i c u l a t i n g his own post-colonial r e a l i t y but also perhaps paving the way for such recent works as Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography of My Mother, 1 8 which even more vehemently denies the p o s s i b i l i t y of seeing Eden i n a Caribbean childhood. The Prelude represents an inherited paradox which Walcott accepts but questions; the paradox i s that the divided s e l f which the poet laments also provides him with both the material for his poem and an opportunity to create an integrated s e l f i n writing. This i s s i m i l a r to the r e l a t i o n s h i p between d i v i s i o n and integration i n the Romantic philosophy which so heavily influenced The Prelude. According to t h i s philosophy, as M.H. Abrams points out, the i n i t i a l , two-dimensional f i s s i o n between mind and outer 4 6 nature, and between the mind and i t s own natural impulses, although i t i s i n i t s e l f an e v i l , i s the very act which releases the energy that sets i n motion the speculative philosophy whose basic aim . . . i s to cancel a l l cognitive and moral separation and opposition i n a restored and enduring unity. (18 2) Abrams goes on to point out that Romantic philosophy i s "primarily a metaphysics of integration, of which the key p r i n c i p l e i s that of the ' r e c o n c i l i a t i o n , 1 or synthesis, of whatever i s divided, opposed, and c o n f l i c t i n g " (182). Without the d i v i s i o n , i n other words, there would be no need or, perhaps more s i g n i f i c a n t l y , no opportunity for integration. Not only does the d i v i s i o n provide the subject matter and momentum for the poem, but i n each case, i t allows the writer to create an integrated s e l f , i f only on paper. Thus both poets negotiate a continual exchange between memories of a past s e l f and commentary by the adult writer, i n s c r i b i n g for themselves and for t h e i r audience an autobiography whose apparent mimesis has healing and integrating p o t e n t i a l . While Wordsworth i s at best s e l f -conscious about t h i s writing towards i n t e g r a t i o n , 1 9 Walcott i s openly scornful both of his own complicity i n the further a l i e n a t i o n i t causes and of the p o s s i b i l i t y of f i n a l r e s o l u t i o n . For writing an integrated l i f e means another d i v i s i o n , 47 t h i s time not only between art's formal requirements and a demand for accurate mimesis, but also between the a b i l i t y to record objectively and the desire to l i v e s u b jectively. Gayatri Spivak has written about Wordsworth's representation of gender/sexual issues and the h i s t o r i c a l Wordsworth's possible experience with these issues, pointing out h i s effacement of his r e a l - l i f e romance with Annette Vallon and i t s replacement by the Vaudracoeur story. 2 0 Throughout The Prelude, the distance between experienced or " r e a l " l i f e and art's created version of that l i f e i s perhaps most noticeable i n the poem's gaps and silences. Walcott more d i r e c t l y addresses the d i s t i n c t i o n ; he says he " f e l l i n love with art, / and l i f e began" (186). Although t h i s quotation implies that l i f e does not ex i s t for him without a r t , Walcott suggests throughout that his dedication to a r t i s often at the expense of l i f e . The distance Walcott's a r t i s t i c ego imposes between himself and his l i f e i s evident i n his r e l a t i o n s h i p with Anna. His early love for her i s introduced immediately a f t e r the creed-like stanza of consecration to a r t i n Chapter 7, which ends with the above quotation counterposing art and l i f e . In his responses to Anna, the young a r t i s t i s invar i a b l y torn between these two. He describes Anna i n terms of art, "her golden p l a i t s a simple coronet / out of Angelico" (187), and describes his hand as "trembling to r e c i t e her name" (187). As he now recognizes, "[t]he hand 48 she held already had betrayed / them by i t s longing f o r describing her" (236). While Walcott castigates himself for h i s negation of the r e a l Anna i n favour of the one he creates/inscribes, h i s most p a i n f u l self-indictment i s found i n h i s de s c r i p t i o n of the suicide of his mentor, Harry Simmons. After musing on his g i f t i n r e l a t i o n to those of Gregorias and Simmons, he asks h i s master and fri e n d for forgiveness: Forgive me, i f t h i s sketch should ever t h r i v e , or p r o f i t from your gentle, generous s p i r i t . When I began t h i s work, you were a l i v e , and with one stroke, you have completed i t ! (282) The language here i s very concerned with a rt as w i l l f u l creation; the nouns are also p o t e n t i a l l y active strong verbs—"sketch," "work," "stroke". And the h o r r i b l e pun which equates the painter's stroke with the razor's forces the equally h o r r i b l e , p a i n f u l l y honest r e a l i z a t i o n that the poet benefits from Simmons' suicide because i t so p e r f e c t l y completes his poem. Yet although Walcott r e a l i z e s his own complicity i n art which perpetuates as much as or more than i t heals d i v i s i o n , he has few alternatives and must accept t h i s inheritance which Wordsworth of f e r s . Like Wordsworth, he w i l l attempt to write towards integration and, l i k e Wordsworth, he w i l l do t h i s by rather self-consciously s i g n a l l i n g an i n s c r i b i n g and an inscribed s e l f , and by l i n k i n g these respectively, to 49 the adult writer and his younger counterpart. Wordsworth's f i r s t book, with i t s address to Coleridge about the nature of his present task and i t s invocations to the muse which i s Nature, i s c l e a r l y written to focus attention on the writing s e l f . He speaks of the "months to come [in which he] / May dedicate [him]self to chosen tasks" (1:33-4). Wordsworth's self-reflexiveness concerning h i s task i s c l o s e l y related to his fascination with the layers of chronological selves. He interrupts himself a f t e r h i s f i r s t 54 l i n e s to point out that "Thus far, 0 Friend! did I, not used to make / A present joy the matter of my Song, / Pour out, that day, my soul in measured s t r a i n s , / Even i n the very words which I have here / Recorded" (1:55-59, my emphasis). A d i s t i n c t i o n i s drawn between a f a i r l y recent recording and an e a r l i e r outpouring of song (the spontaneity of which i s curiously modified by i t s "measured s t r a i n s " ) . As readers, we seem to be considering three chronologically d i s t i n c t actions and/or selves: the speaker i n the narrative present, the recorder in a recent past, and the "singer" who poured out his joy i n an even e a r l i e r past. Walcott finds t h i s a useful model. His opening also draws attention to the e f f o r t s of the present s e l f — " I begin here again" (145) and places that s e l f i n r e l a t i o n to passing t i m e — the moon's filaments waning—but against a backdrop of a past action, that of the absent master who has opened and then abandoned the pages of the book which i s the 50 sea. Although he begins i n tw i l i g h t i n the present tense, the t w i l i g h t he describes i s marked by i t s use of verbs i n the past tense: "when a glare / which held a cry of bugles lowered / the coconut lances of the i n l e t , / as a sun, t i r e d of empire, declined. / I t mesmerized l i k e f i r e without wind, / and as i t s amber climbed...the sky / grew drunk with l i g h t " (145, my emphasis). This overlapping of the past and his present i s as much a central feature of Another L i f e as i t i s of The Prelude, as each poet t r i e s to understand and a r t i c u l a t e h is present by probing e a r l i e r experiences and expectations. While Wordsworth, through childhood memories, p a r t i c u l a r l y the powerfully shaping "spots i n time", i s f i n a l l y able to assert a renewed i n t e g r i t y , Walcott i s only able to understand and a r t i c u l a t e his d i v i s i o n , and to re-commit himself resignedly to the task of changing those conditions which predicated i t . If any redemption from the f a l l e n state i s possible, i t w i l l be achieved through the act of naming. Where Wordsworth turns to his childhood to f i n d solace for his adult s e l f , i t i s Walcott's adult, i n s c r i b i n g , s e l f who re-writes his past for the hurt c h i l d he c a r r i e s within. This adult, for example, bridges the ch i l d ' s d i v i s i o n between the oral d a i l y s t r e e t / f o l k l i f e and the l i t e r a r y s t o r i e s of the classroom by composing a Homeric abecedary which asserts an "alphabet of the emaciated" as the "stars of my mythology" (164). 51 Walcott asserts his own d i v i s i o n , acknowledging the pain i t has brought him, but without the need or the a b i l i t y to overcome i t . Perhaps t h i s i s because he has more openly accepted his own complicity i n t h i s pain by acknowledging the part i t plays i n his writing. And perhaps because the primary response he makes to i t i s even more wri t i n g which w i l l i n e v i t a b l y cause more alienation — b o t h because i t holds him back, observing, from others, and because i t causes him to judge his own work, which i s also a part of himself. Wordsworth, through his "spots i n time," i s f i n a l l y led back to the unity described i n the Mt. Snowdon passage. Walcott p a r a l l e l s t h i s i n a moment of s i m i l a r l y apocalyptic re v e l a t i o n which he experiences as a youth, and r e -interprets as an adult. At fourteen he " l o s t [his] s e l f somewhere above a val l e y " . With a reversal of clouds and sea very s i m i l a r to Wordsworth's experience on Mt. Snowdon, the young boy "drowned in labouring breakers of bright cloud, / then uncontrollably . . . began to weep . . . with a serene extinction of a l l sense . . . for nothing and for everything" (185). Thus the s e l f seems to dissolve into a unity which, again, p a r a l l e l s Wordsworth's Mt. Snowdon epiphany. But when the poet t r i e s as an adult to understand t h i s weeping submission, he associates himself with doubleness rather than with unity: my sign was Janus, / I saw with twin heads, / and everything I say i s contradicted" 52 (281) . He also associates himself with the feminine which might be h i s opposite but which i s also an i n t e g r a l part of his s e l f : "I knelt because I was my mother" (281). This turning to the feminine for consolation and for balance i s also asserted i n his description of his r e l a t i o n s h i p with hi s wife: I have married one whose darkness i s a tree, bayed i n whose arms I bring my s t i f l e d howl, love and forgive me! Who holds my fears at dusk l i k e birds which take the l o s t or moonlit colour of her leaves, i n whom our children and the children of friends s e t t l e simply, l i k e rhymes, i n whose side, i n the grim times when I cannot see l i g h t for the deep leaves, sharing her depth, the whole lee ocean grieves. (282) He l a t e r claims that he can walk beside "the t i r e l e s s hoarse anger of the waters . . . a renewed, exhausted man, / balanced at i t s edge by the weight of two dear daughters" (289). The sexist essentialism of such l i n e s i s troubling; nevertheless, there i s a posit i v e movement here from Wordsworth's effacement of the sexual to Walcott's model of sexual union and/or hybridity o f f e r i n g the p o t e n t i a l to heal d i v i s i o n . 53 F i n a l l y , though, despite the healing and forgiveness provided by his wife and the renewal and balance offered by hi s daughters, Walcott remains divided. Unlike Wordsworth who closes with a commitment to future action, a commitment which joins him to Coleridge, integrating a p o t e n t i a l l y second s e l f , Walcott looks back to a time when he also f e l t such a commitment. He also addresses a p o t e n t i a l a l t e r ego, and divides that fellow a r t i s t further under h i s two names: "Gregorias, Apilo!" (294); the f i r s t the "arty" Greek name with which he has idealised him; and the second h i s common name, the nickname of his childhood f r i e n d . Rather than exhort his friend to j o i n him i n a commitment to a future task, he i s divided from a time when they shared such a commitment, a time when they "were the l i g h t of the world!" and "were blest . . . with Adam's task of giving things t h e i r names" (294). Although he has e a r l i e r likened Gregorias to the sun, he now associates him with h i s "crude wooden star" (294), a t r a n s i t i o n which l i n k s him with the t w i l i g h t mood of the poem's opening. S i m i l a r l y , e a r l i e r i n the t h i r d section of t h i s f i n a l chapter, he returns again to "old verandahs" and to a "book l e f t open by an absent master" (292). The gulf or d i v i s i o n which separates him from "another l i f e " i n which he and Gregorias shared so much hope w i l l not be overcome. He w i l l not achieve the f i n a l i n t e g r i t y which Wordsworth claims. Rather, h i s only hope i s to move forward resignedly to take 54 the only action possible, that of creating yet another l i f e through the writing action which i s the poem: that of "beginning again." 55 Chapter Three — "Heroic Argument" Walcott's use of the epic form for h i s "growth of the poet's mind" obviously r e c a l l s Wordsworth's Prelude; as well, i t points to an entire t r a d i t i o n of the epic within Western l i t e r a t u r e , and also, because of the epic's o r i g i n a l association with transmitting history, to the Western discourse of history i t s e l f . In the al l u s i o n s made to The Prelude by the form of Another L i f e , Walcott acknowledges the i n s p i r a t i o n he has drawn from Western l i t e r a t u r e , claiming h i s inheritance by demonstrating h i s s k i l l i n one of i t s most exalted genres. At the same time, he modifies Wordsworth's somewhat subversive use of the epic for autobiography by interrogating and subverting that t r a d i t i o n himself. Through such modification, as well as i n h i s echoing of and deviation from Wordsworth's narrative patterns and structuring p r i n c i p l e s , he inscribes the postcolonial r e a l i t i e s previously excluded from the epic form. He narrates a l i f e s i milar to Wordsworth's i n i t s youthful optimism and eventual disillusionment, but eschews Wordsworth's f i n a l redemptive resolution i n deference to the Caribbean's lack of "history" which must condemn him to a perpetual "beginning again." Another L i f e ' s most obvious a l l u s i o n to The Prelude i s made i n i t s form: verse autobiography with epic q u a l i t i e s . This i n t e r t e x t u a l i t y demands that The Prelude be considered not only as The 56 Prelude. but also as a s i g n i f i e r for a whole t r a d i t i o n of Western writing. Although Wordsworth may o r i g i n a l l y have intended his poem only as a prelude, a sort of t r y i n g ground of h i s s k i l l s for the task of writing a true epic, i t i s now recognized as being "a poem i n a recognizably epic s t y l e " even by those c r i t i c s who f e e l that i t f a i l s as an epic (Lord 7). As "recognizably epic," the poem c a r r i e s the weight of Western l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n , with a l i n e c l e a r l y traceable from C l a s s i c a l , B i b l i c a l , and Old English epics through Dante, Spenser, and, especially, Milton. Paul Merchant c a l l s The Prelude an "early autobiographical epic." 2 1 He gives reasons for f i n d i n g the poem "quite overtly, an epic," c i t i n g several aspects of the poem which most c l e a r l y situate i t within t h i s t r a d i t i o n . He finds s i g n i f i c a n t , for example, that "[t]he Muse, or i n s p i r a t i o n for the work, i s introduced i n the f i f t h l i n e , as a 'welcome Friend': he i s Coleridge, to whom the poem i s addressed" (84). Merchant points out that the poem "thus has the character of a number of oral t a l e s t o l d to t h i s f r i e n d , t a l e s which describe to him i n d e t a i l the speaker's poetic and s p i r i t u a l development" (84), and also notes "the poet's habit of introducing s o l i t a r y figures" which, "together with the many fine s i m i l i e s . . . lends the poem the d i s t i n c t i v e character of an epic" (85). Merchant further states that "Wordsworth b u i l t up his own mythology of experience" through "a long s e r i e s of 57 deeply f e l t v i s u a l incidents." He describes the "creation of the complete poem from t h i s pattern of i n t e r r e l a t e d incidents" as a "labour of great imaginative s k i l l , " and asserts that " i t i s during the organization of the work that the epic, rather than the autobiographical novel, i s formed" (86). Merchant's comments demonstrate both that Wordsworth's poem i s d i f f e r e n t enough from the t r a d i t i o n a l epic that labeling i t as such requires some defence, and also that the genre i s f l e x i b l e enough to accommodate modifications. Besides the q u a l i t i e s which Merchant suggests mark The Prelude as epic, an epic must necessarily be, i f not long, at least "large i n scale" (Merchant 4). Merchant sketches out two poles within which epic experiences may be placed by using two borrowed phrases: "surpassing the dimensions of realism" and "including h i s t o r y " (1). He demonstrates the f l u i d i t y of the genre between these two poles by tracing i t s development from the Homeric epics, noting such modifications as those made by Dante i n his Commedia. Chaucer in Canterbury Tales 2 2 and Milton i n Paradise Lost. Wordsworth demonstrates his awareness both of the f l u i d i t y of the genre and of the need to argue for h i s place within i t through his references to Milton. Both M.H. Abrams and Herbert Lindenberger c a l l attention to Wordsworth's claim that "[T]his i s i n truth, heroic argument," a l i n e i n which, as Abrams states, "Wordsworth 58 echoes, i n order to supersede" Milton's claim that h i s B i b l i c a l subject matter i s as heroic as the more t r a d i t i o n a l C l a s s i c a l material of epics (29). And as Lindenberger says, through t h i s echoing, Wordsworth not only points up the epic impulse behind the poem, but c a l l s on Milton's precedent i n j u s t i f y i n g new areas worthy of epic: for i f Milton must defend himself for writing an epic about man's moral rather than his m i l i t a r y history, Wordsworth i n turn claims to f i n d heroic argument i n man's (and, indeed, i n one man's) personal history. (12) Thus Wordsworth c a r r i e s on not only the epic t r a d i t i o n i t s e l f but also c a r r i e s on the t r a d i t i o n of i t s modification. At the most obvious l e v e l of form, Another L i f e i s epic: i t i s over 150 pages long, and divided into four sections or books which are further subdivided into chapters, a d i v i s i o n which not only emphasizes s i z e , but also that the epic i s a book, a material manifestation of a l i t e r a r y culture. With twelve chapters i n the f i r s t two sections and eleven i n the l a s t two, there i s also a subtle reference to the epic's t r a d i t i o n a l d i v i s i o n into twelve books 2 3 (Wordsworth modified t h i s t r a d i t i o n as well: the 1805 Prelude has thirteen books). Although o r i g i n a l l y an or a l form, the epics we know are strongly associated with 59 books, part of a European t r a d i t i o n which p r i v i l e g e s the written over the o r a l . Walcott's task throughout i s to question t h i s p r i v i l e g i n g even as he indulges h i s w r i t e r l y s e l f by i n s c r i b i n g the o r a l . Using the epic form i s a powerful way of foregrounding t h i s contest between "the book" and the o r a l , and of reminding the European that t h i s p r i v i l e g e d l i t e r a r y form i s closely linked to o r a l i t y . In t h i s context, Walcott's double mention of a "book" in the poem's opening stanza suggests a subversion of the epic poet's invocation of a muse. Where Wordsworth invokes both the blessing of the gentle breeze and a fellow poet, Coleridge, Walcott turns to "the book." But i t i s a book which has been abandoned, as have the poet and the Caribbean, by "an absent master / i n the middle of another l i f e " (145), with the suggestion, through the following l i n e s , of the other l i f e being B r i t i s h l i f e , l i f e i n the l i t e r a r y canon which does not care to record the Caribbean. I t i s also the only book which has included the Caribbean: "the pages of the sea" which hold the record of the hi s t o r y of slavery and colonialism. Other books, those which more c l e a r l y represent the t r a d i t i o n a l muse of l i t e r a t u r e , w i l l be of l i t t l e use to Walcott as a poet t r y i n g to write a Caribbean r e a l i t y . I t i s to the books of the canon, those which have inspired yet excluded him, that Walcott now writes back, and i t i s into the dominant l i t e r a r y discourse that he attempts 60 to i n s c r i b e his own post-colonial, Caribbean r e a l i t y . The epics whose form he imi t a t e s / r e c a l l s have always represented that which the c o l o n i a l master i n s i s t e d the Caribbean could not b e — h e r o i c and h i s t o r i c . But just as Wordsworth moved into a space prepared by Dante 2 4 and Milton to assert h i s own poetic development as worthy of the epic form, Walcott s i m i l a r l y extends the use of the form to include the Caribbean, i n s c r i b i n g i t as h i s t o r i c while he simultaneously questions the meaning and value of the t r a d i t i o n a l l y heroic. Wordsworth's use of the epic form i s marked by several d i r e c t references to Milton, the adoption of Milton's blank verse, and a s i m i l a r i t y of narrative structure. Walcott s i m i l a r l y refers to his l i t e r a r y forebears by making numerous all u s i o n s to Wordsworth and Milton. However, Walcott's most d i r e c t references to e a r l i e r epics are those to Homer, for whom history and the sea were also c l o s e l y intertwined. For example, i n Chapter 3 he writes an abecedary of the l o c a l characters of his childhood i n Homeric terms, describing the "surly chauffeur from Clauzel's garage [who] bangs Troy's gate shut!" (159). Emanuel Auguste i s the "lone Odysseus, / tattooed ex-merchant s a i l o r " (160), while "Janie, the town's one c l e a r -complexioned whore" with "her black / hair e l e c t r i c a l / as a l l that trouble over Troy" i s a potential Helen (161). What these examples make clear, however, i s that although Walcott may be re-writing Homer to include h i s l o c a l 61 r e a l i t y , he does not always, i n so doing, claim the l o c a l as heroic. Rather, by i n s i s t i n g that "[t]hese dead, these d e r e l i c t s , / that alphabet of the emaciated" were "the stars of my mythology" (164), Walcott i s i r o n i c a l l y i n s c r i b i n g the an t i - e p i c . S i m i l a r l y , the sea voyages made by "Capitaine Foquarde" r e c a l l those of Ulysses, with whom he i s compared d i r e c t l y (173, 181). But here Penelope, his Martiniquan wife, i s f a r from f a i t h f u l during his absences. She blooms each time he "ulyssees," laughing while she stitches ripped knickers (the rip p i n g and s t i t c h i n g a burlesque version of the o r i g i n a l Penelope's weaving and unweaving). The voyages on the "Jewel, a single-stack, d i e s e l , forty-foot coastal vessel [which] coughed l i k e a r e l i c out of Conrad" are s i m i l a r l y f a r from romantic. They involve the twice-a-week loading of a "cargo of pigs, charcoal, food, lumber, / squabbling or frightened peasants, the odd p r i e s t , " and the subsequent de l i v e r y of t h i s cargo by "threading the island's j e t t i e d v i l l a g e s , / Anse La Raye, Canaries, Soufriere, Choiseul,//and back" (174). Again, rather than assert the l i f e of the islands as heroic, Walcott draws attention to i t s d a i l y tawdriness; t h i s i n s c r i p t i o n of tawdriness foregrounds the t r a d i t i o n a l epic's exclusion of such r e a l i t i e s , prompting a questioning of i t s claims to accurate representation. The history of the t r a d i t i o n a l epic i s s i m i l a r to that 62 represented by the large tapestry Walcott remembers from his schooldays, a c l a s s i c a l l y chaotic canvas of snorting, dappled chargers Their r i d e r s were a legion of dragoons sabre-moustached, canted on s t i f f e n e d r e i n , t h e i r arms crooked i n a scything sweep, vaulting a heap of dying, one i n the stance of a r e c l i n i n g Venus, as casual as Giorgione the whole charge l i k e a pukkha, without blood no mouth of pain, every c h i v a l r i c wound rose-lipped, dandiacal, sweet, every s e l f - s a c r i f i c e perfumed (210, my emphasis) Walcott's description of the tapestry draws attention, i n i t s reference to the C l a s s i c a l period, the r e c l i n i n g Venus, and Giorgione, to the rendering of history into a r t usually with a consequent effacement of blood and pain. In t h i s chapter, Chapter 11, Walcott questions other representations of history, p a r t i c u l a r l y his "red-jacketed Williamson's / History of the B r i t i s h Empire" (211), and juxtaposes t h e i r " f i c t i o n / of rusted soldiers f a l l e n on a schoolboy's page" 63 with the forest which "keeps no wounds" (212). He suggests that what has been considered a history of epic heroism can also be seen as a history of "ennui, defence, disease" (212). At the same time, he imaginatively reconstructs the leap of the Carib Indians to demonstrate that the Caribbean h i s t o r y which has been excluded from the texts i s as heroic as any European epic (213-4). Walcott further questions the t r a d i t i o n a l parameters of his t o r y by noting that St. Lucia i s f i n a l l y brought into the scope of history by the f i r e which almost destroys i t : "the thick tongue of a f a l l e n , drunken lamp / l i c k e d at i t s alcohol ringing the f l o o r , / and with the f i e r c e rush of a furnace door / suddenly opened, history was here" (221). If t h i s drama renders the Caribbean f i n a l l y somehow epic as "[y]our ruined I l i o n " (226), Walcott i s again quick to describe the tawdry r e a l i t y of t h i s destruction, the perverted bedsprings, heat-stained mattresses, a l l of the melancholy, monotonous rubbish of those who thought t h e i r l i v e s strange to t h e i r neighbours, t h e i r sins repeated t i r e d l y by the same picture-frames, papers, blue magnesia bottles (225) Once again, he moves to inscribe the Caribbean r e a l i t y as epic, but also suggests the p o t e n t i a l l y tawdry background effaced i n the t r a d i t i o n a l epic. The epic's power to represent and to define the human 64 condition as well as the power of the epic and the book to shape, measure, and validate the post-colonial l i f e i s a power Walcott wants not only to question but also to claim. Yet when he does so, renderinq the or a l and the imaginatively reconstructed into his own epic, he cautions the reader: Provincialism loves the pseudo-epic, so i f these heroes have been given a stature disproportionate to t h e i r cramped l i v e s , remember I beheld them at knee-height, and that t h e i r thunderous exchanges rumbled l i k e gods about another l i f e , as now, I hope, some c h i l d ascribes t h e i r grandeur to Gregorias. (183) This ambivalence towards his own i n s c r i p t i o n i s perhaps Walcott's most subversive modification of the epic. While Milton asserts the heroic, epic q u a l i t i e s of the saga of Man's soul, and Wordworth extends t h i s to a depiction of an in d i v i d u a l l i f e as heroic, Walcott questions through h i s mimicry of the form whether i t contains any p o s s i b i l i t y at a l l f or the mimesis that readers are so eager to grant i t . 2 5 S i m i l a r l y , Walcott's extensive use of iambic pentameter throughout Another L i f e i s not simply a demonstration of his mastery of a European form. Rather, the poem's moves both towards and away from the blank verse are so c l o s e l y linked, 65 through Milton and then Wordsworth, with the English epic, that they demonstrate a tension between the language and form of the metropolitan power and that of the Caribbean poet. While c l e a r l y b u i l t on the framework of blank verse epic, Another L i f e equally c l e a r l y signals the inadequacy of that form to support i t and, instead, often modifies the form to s u i t i t s own needs. The framework i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable at beginnings and endings. The f i r s t l i n e of Another L i f e , for example, i s written i n a rhythm suggestive of iambic pentameter. With the exception of the f i r s t l i n e of section IV, so are the f i r s t and l a s t l i n e s of each section of the f i r s t chapter; almost half of poem's 2 3 chapters begin t h i s way. As well, some of the most important l i n e s are written i n pentameter which, i f not always p e r f e c t l y iambic, i s extremely close to, or suggestive of that rhythm. For example, there i s the Wordsworthian "spot i n time" which r e s u l t s i n the young poet's consecration of h i s l i f e to a r t : About the August of my fourteenth year I l o s t my s e l f somewhere above a v a l l e y (184) The poem's central theme i s declared i n t h i s rhythm: What else was he but a divided child? (183) and the major loss i t narrates i s announced t h i s way: A sodden l e t t e r thunders i n my hand an eaten l e t t e r crumbles i n my hand (274) 66 Walcott also uses iambic pentameter when he discusses h i s task as a poet, as in the l i n e i n which he says that he and Gregorias were charged with Adam's task of giving things t h e i r names (294). His description of art's attempt to contain, frame, and master l i f e , as well of his own art's betrayal of love, i s very cunningly offered i n a sonnet: And which of them i n time would be betrayed was never questioned by that poetry which breathed within the evening naturally, but by the noble treachery of art that looks for fear when i t i s least a f r a i d , that coldly takes the pulse-beat of the heart i n happiness; that praised i t s need to die to the bright candour of the evening sky, that preferred love to immortality; so every step increased that subtlety which hoped that t h e i r two bodies could be made one body of immortal metaphor. The hand she held already had betrayed them by i t s longing for describing her. (236) Here Walcott adds the additional constraint of rhyme to those of rhythm and meter. He uses the convention of f i v e rhymes—a,b,c,d and e—but deploys these i n an unconventional manner, underlining his a b i l i t y to work within the li m i t a t i o n s of the form while subverting i t to 67 hi s own ends. As well, the sonnet draws attention to Walcott's s k i l l with the l y r i c form, and foregrounds the tension within t h i s work (similar to that i n Wordsworth's) between i t s often l y r i c content and i t s epic intentions and form. While Walcott often uses iambic pentameter to point to important l i n e s or central themes, he also uses the disruption of blank verse to achieve the same end. In Section III of Chapter 11, for example, when Walcott remembers the history he was taught i n school and simultaneously imagines alternative h i s t o r i e s , more than a t h i r d of the 27 l i n e s have ten s y l l a b l e s , i f not f i v e stresses; f i v e of these are near-iambic. This has a challenging and arresting e f f e c t on the reader who must struggle both into and against the rhythm. In the f i r s t stanza which begins conversationally, "I saw h i s t o r y through the sea-washed eyes," i t puts the emphasis very c l e a r l y on "a lonely Englishman who loved parades" (212), thus reducing the "choleric, ginger-haired headmaster" to a no s t a l g i a -evoking, s l i g h t l y i n e f f e c t u a l , figure and immediately diminishing his capacity to represent history. The l a s t two l i n e s of t h i s stanza suggest the l i m i t a t i o n s of such systems of representation as the English discourse of h i s t o r y and iambic pentametric verse. The next stanza begins i n an iambic pentameter which continues to question the schoolroom's nostalgic dubious 68 representation of history: "Nostalgia! Hymns of batt l e s not our own." The iambic pentameter i s used here to contrast the written history which the boys must memorize with the trope of a r a c i a l history denied by the classroom: "those dates we piped of redoubt and repulse, / while i n our wrists the k e t t l e drums pulsed on." The l i n e s of f a i r l y regular metre and rhythm are interspersed with longer and shorter l i n e s , l i n e s which begin as iambic but end otherwise, or l i n e s l i k e the f i v e beginning "How strange," said B i l l (Carr)," which completely disrupt any suggested pattern. These l a s t f i v e l i n e s are then immediately followed by a return, for one l i n e , to near-iambic pentameter which describes the schoolroom hi s t o r y as "A h i s t o r y of ennui, defence, disease." The stanza then continues with a catalogue of images of the death and disease which are the inevitable counterpart of war. Again, there are fragments i n iambic rhythm, but the l i n e which i s clo s e s t to iambic pentameter points to the r i d i c u l o u s heraldry of war and heroism, and leaves exposed the stanza's f i n a l l i n e with i t s rather pathetic anti-climax: "fade, ' l i k e the white plumes of the Fighting F i f t h / who wore the feather without s t a i n . ' " The f i n a l stanza of t h i s section i s only four l i n e s long, and i t forms a contrasting image of heroism, that of the Carib Indians jumping off the c l i f f s to the rocks below i n the 1651 b a t t l e . 2 6 69 The leaping Caribs whiten, i n one f l a s h , the instant the race leapt at Sauteurs, a cataract! One scream of bounding lace. Again Walcott plays with the p o s s i b i l i t i e s and the l i m i t s of iambic pentameter. A natural reading of the f i r s t l i n e combines i t with the f i r s t three words of the second l i n e to form a l i n e of iambic pentameter. But the break the poet has chosen puts the emphasis on the ending word, "whiten" as well as on the illuminated moment which i s an important concept of both history and poetry. I t also demonstrates the p o s s i b i l i t y of re-arranging, of reading i n d i f f e r e n t ways, thus allowing the reader interpretive engagement. The f i n a l l i n e , however, i s the l i n e which i s most c l e a r l y set out to approximate iambic pentameter. The disruption of the pattern here focuses the imagination on the "One scream," which, between the surrounding "cataract" and the "bounding lace" (a nice contrast to the "white plumes of the Fighting F i f t h " ) , resounds as fixed, eternal, wordless, and f i n a l l y , uncontainable i n the discourse of the blank verse epic. Just as Walcott's use of the epic form allows him to r e f e r to, question, and modify the discourse of Western l i t e r a t u r e and history, so too does his echoing of Wordsworth's narrative patterns and structuring p r i n c i p l e s . In terms of narrative patterns, t h i s i s p a r t i c u l a r l y noticeable i n Walcott's simultaneous adoption of and 70 deviation from Wordsworth's use of the epi s t o l a r y convention, the confessional fi r s t - p e r s o n tone/voice, as well as Wordsworth's negotiation between past and present events. These narrative patterns i n both poems focus on a structure whose ending ultimately c i r c l e s back to i t s beginning, but while t h i s ending-beginning situates Wordsworth looking forward, Walcott looks backward to a l o s t optimism. This deviation r e f l e c t s the distance between Wordsworth's Romantic re-fashioning of the B i b l i c a l and Mi l t o n i c meta-narrative to provide the structure for h i s l i f e s t o r y , 2 7 and the u n a v a i l a b i l i t y of t h i s model to a post-colonial poet who was never able to believe i n an Eden. Wordsworth's story i s one t o l d to a close f r i e n d and fellow a r t i s t who i s now absent and being addressed from a distance. I t i s a selec t i v e r e t e l l i n g of a l i f e , one i n which Wordsworth's poet persona remains c l e a r l y i n charge of the f i r s t - p e r s o n narration. Although there i s a continuous negotiation between past memories and present r e f l e c t i o n on those memories, the poet i s c l e a r l y situated from the beginning i n an ultimately forward-looking moment of present v i c t o r y over past d i f f i c u l t i e s . Walcott s i m i l a r l y begins i n the f i r s t person by addressing an implied single l i s t e n e r , and the reader does gain a sense throughout the poem that t h i s l i s t e n e r must be Walcott's fellow a r t i s t , Gregorias. Thus the "There / was your heaven!" of the poem's f i r s t page must be addressed to the same l i s t e n e r as 71 the "You sometimes dance with that destructive frenzy" of i t s l a s t page. But i t i s much less clear where Gregorias i s now situated, not only i n the present physical world but also i n his relationship to the poet persona. Further confusing the question i s the i n s t a b i l i t y throughout of the f i r s t - p e r s o n narration, which switches sporadically to a third-person narrative. As well, the second-person addresses are made not only to Gregorias, but also to the poet's mother (Chapter 2), his grandfather (p. 209), to h i s f i r s t love, Anna (Chapter 15), and his mentor, Harry Simmons (Chapters 18, 21). And there i s a l l of Book Two, the "Homage to Gregorias" which seems to speak about Gregorias to a primary audience which can only be the r e a d e r — a l l of t h i s inevitably has a retroactive e f f e c t on the opening apostrophe, not only rendering the addressee's i d e n t i t y unclear, but d e s t a b i l i z i n g the rel a t i o n s h i p between speaker and listener/reader. S i m i l a r l y , while Wordsworth's r e c o l l e c t i o n s of the past keep the poem's narrator firmly situated i n the present, Walcott's often merge past and present, or abandon the present for the past. In the description of the poet's childhood s e l f at bedtime, for example, past and present tenses are combined so that while the " c h i l d tented h i s cotton nightdress" and " [ t ] w i l i g h t enshrined the lantern of hi s head," "[h]ands swing him heavenward," and a candle "re-l e t t e r s " the books by his bed (158, my emphasis). 72 These deviations from Wordworth's narrative patterns p a r a l l e l the relationship between the two poems i n respect to t h e i r structuring p r i n c i p l e s . Just as Wordsworth asserts his control of the narrative, maintaining a stable "I-you" r e l a t i o n s h i p with the reader and a c l e a r l y d i f f e r e n t i a t e d "now-then" rela t i o n s h i p with the past, so too does he i n s i s t on an o v e r a l l structure which allows and reinforces that control and s t a b i l i t y . This structure i s , of course, the grand narrative of Western discourse, the B i b l i c a l structure of the Garden, the F a l l , and the Redemption, adopted by Wordsworth's l i t e r a r y hero, Milton, for his epic work, Paradise Lost. Wordsworth combines t h i s with the journey trope which reinforces both the l i n e a r i t y of h i s o v e r a l l structure, as well as i t s paradoxically simultaneous c i r c u l a r i t y — t h e way i n which i t s beginning and ending somehow merge to form a moment which nonetheless i n s i s t s on a l i n e a r i t y , pointing to the shared future task to which Wordsworth and Coleridge must dedicate themselves. Walcott adopts the c i r c u l a r r e l a t i o n s h i p between beginning and ending i n his poem, and he c e r t a i n l y r e f e r s often to the B i b l i c a l narrative. As well, the continual presence of the sea suggests the p o s s i b i l i t y of journeys, and the poet does describe several which were s i g n i f i c a n t i n his l i f e . However, the overwhelming sense i n the poem i s not of a forward progress away from the Garden, through the F a l l , and towards/into Redemption, but rather of the 73 perennial need to "begin again" with both Adamic exultation and Sisyphian resignation. The avowed task at the beginning of the poem i s : "I begin here again," and t h i s i s a theme repeated throughout the work. In the f i r s t chapter's second section, f o r example, Walcott quotes from a poem "Holy" by the Jamaican poet, George Campbell. This poem, f i r s t published i n 1945, i s noted as "the beginning of the d i s t i n c t i v e West Indian l i t e r a r y t r a d i t i o n i n which Walcott has been such a prominent fig u r e " (Chamberlin 143). Walcott reads the book "bound i n sea-green l i n e n , " i t s colour c l e a r l y l i n k i n g i t s suggestion that "another l i f e . . . would s t a r t again" (149), with Walcott's own beginning at the sea's edge. Another beginning i s c i t e d when the young boy " f e l l i n love with art, and l i f e began" (186). Later, the poet hopes to "shake off the cerecloths" of the p r i v i l e g e d European art of Hemingway and Pisarro. A cleansing r a i n o f f e r s a new beginning i n which can be p r i v i l e g e d the "smell of our own speech, / the smell of baking bread, / of d r i z z l e d asphalt, t h i s / odorous cedar" (217). Another important "beginning again" i s that of Castries a f t e r the 1948 f i r e : "the phoenix metaphor flew / from tongue to tongue" (246). Gregorias must also come close to destruction before beginning again. When he t e l l s Walcott about h i s f l i r t a t i o n with and rejec t i o n of suicide, i t becomes obvious to the poet that "Gregorias . . . had 74 entered l i f e " (272). But despite the triumphant associations of these new beginnings, Walcott f i n a l l y i s able to propose beginning again only as that of an a r t perpetually compromised by i t s history, and which must ultimately be obliterated by nature: they w i l l absolve us, perhaps, i f we begin again, from what we have always known, nothing, from that carnal slime of the garden, from the incarnate subtlety of the snake, from the Egyptian moment of the heron's foot on the mud's entablature, by t h i s augury of ibises f l y i n g at evening from the melting trees, while the silver-hammered charger of the marsh l i g h t , brings towards us, again and again, i n beaten s c r o l l s , nothing, then nothing, and then nothing. (286-287) 2 8 Like the sun, with i t s "holy, r e p e t i t i v e resurrection" (288), the poet can only "repeat myself, / prayer, same prayer, towards f i r e , same f i r e " (289). This insistence on "beginning again" i s reinforced by the poem's structure and by i t s narrative patterns i n such a way that the reader i s constantly being forced to re-orient h e r s e l f and "begin again." The f i r s t chapter, for example, i s spoken by an " I " , who i s almost effaced by the end of the f i r s t section. Although subsequent reading establishes "the 75 student" who i s described here as the poet n l ' " s younger s e l f , t h i s i s not clear on a f i r s t reading, but requires a "beginning again." By the end of the chapter, we are again being addressed by the poet who uses the f i r s t person, but the next chapter appropriates t h i s " I " for an imaginative re-voicing of the poet's mother's l i f e . As soon as we adjust to t h i s , the voice i s again the poet's and "Maman" i s addressed i n the second person, as i n "Maman, / you sat folded i n silence" (153). Such s h i f t s tend to emphasize the separation of the work into sections, 2 9 and force the reader to be aware of "beginning again" with each such section. This i s also the ef f e c t of Walcott's v a r i a t i o n i n s t y l e from section to section and from chapter to chapter. Whereas Wordsworth's pages a l l look very s i m i l a r with t h e i r l i n e s of blank verse, Walcott combines various s t y l e s . The abecedary of l o c a l characters, for example, with the f i r s t word of each section set apart, draws attention to i t s e l f as a unit d i f f e r e n t from the rest of the work. So does the section e n t i t l e d "THE PACT' i n Chapter 4, and the f i r s t section of Chapter 6, whose short l i n e s r e c a l l a l i t u r g i c a l l i t a n y . Wordsworth, of course, also encloses noticeably d i s t i n c t sections, as, for example, the dream section, and the section describing the thwarted love between J u l i a and Vaudracoeur. But the combined e f f e c t of the continuous blank verse and the insistence on a li n e a r progression 76 towards the Mt. Snowdon revelation i s to force the reader to accept Wordsworth's mature s e l f as a guide past/through these p a r t i c u l a r d i f f i c u l t i e s . Walcott, by contrast, i n s i s t s that we are arrested regularly throughout, and that i t i s only with some d i f f i c u l t y that we are able to "begin again" with the next section or chapter. 3 0 Walcott's ending continues t h i s focus on beginning again by returning us to the beginning: the l a s t chapter r e c a l l s the opening's verandahs, the t w i l i g h t , and the moon swinging i t s lantern over the sea's pages. This c i r c u l a r i t y p a r a l l e l s that of The Prelude which, as Abrams says i s "an involuted poem . . . about i t s own genesis" (79) . Abrams goes on to j u s t i f y t h i s claim by pointing out that the The Prelude's " s t r u c t u r a l end i s i t s own beginning; and i t s temporal beginning. . . i s Wordsworth's entrance upon the stage of h i s l i f e at which i t ends. The conclusion goes on to specify the c i r c u l a r shape of the whole" (79). The beginnings and endings of The Prelude and Another L i f e are also linked by t h e i r addresses to a fellow a r t i s t , respectively, Coleridge and Gregorias/Apilo/Dunstan St. Omer. Again, however, Walcott modifies the discourse suggested by these s i m i l a r i t i e s . Whereas Wordsworth ends with the p o s i t i v e v i s i o n offered by his revelatory experience on Mt. Snowdon, looking forward to the task he urges Coleridge to j o i n him i n , Walcott ends by remembering 77 such an e a r l i e r keenness. He looks back to a time when he and Gregorias were " l i t " as Wordsworth and Coleridge seem to be. Although he has now found a certain solace i n marriage and family, his confidence i n himself as "the l i g h t of the world" (294) has abandoned him to be replaced by a mature resignation. The l a s t l i n e of the poem, however, with i t s nostalgic exhalation of two versions of his friend's name— "Gregorias, Apilo!"—suggests that although he can no longer sustain the optimistic tone with which The Prelude concludes, he i s s t i l l committed to perpetually beginning again at "Adam's task of giving things t h e i r names" (294). 78 Conclusion By focusing a comparison of Another L i f e and The Prelude on nature and landscape imagery, the divided s e l f , and on form, structuring p r i n c i p l e s , and narrative patterns, I hope to have established both the s i m i l a r i t i e s which show Walcott claiming and continuing a t r a d i t i o n , and the modifications which demonstrate his subversion of that t r a d i t i o n . Of course, as Paul Merchant points out i n h i s work on the epic, such continual modification i s part of that t r a d i t i o n . And M.H. Abrams asserts the renewing e f f e c t s of the Romantic writers who, i n r e i n t e r p r e t i n g t h e i r c u l t u r a l inheritance, developed new modes of organizing experience, new ways of seeing the outer world, and a new set of r e l a t i o n s of the individual to himself, to nature, to history, and to his fellow men. (14) Nonetheless, he finds the movement a conservative one which ultimately reformulated i n order "to save t r a d i t i o n a l concepts, schemes, and values" (13) . Walcott's project seems to me very close i n many ways to the Romantic project, and I f i n d a comparison of The Prelude and Another L i f e interesting for exactly that reason. For paradoxically, i f Walcott attempts to modify or subvert t h i s t r a d i t i o n he i s simultaneously claiming and 79 continuing a heritage of just such modification and subversion. This i s perhaps one of the reasons Walcott has been accused by c r i t i c s of being too s l a v i s h l y European i n form and s t y l e . Certainly, although Another L i f e i n many ways suggests the subversive p o s s i b i l i t i e s of mimicry, Walcott never attempts to rej e c t the canon. Rather, h i s commitment to and love of t h i s canon are clea r i n h i s rather erudite a l l u s i v e s t y l e which includes a vocabulary ( " l a c e r t i l i a n , " for example) very r e f l e c t i v e of a comprehensive European-modeled education. However, such accusations seem to miss the point that one of the central dilemmas faced i n Another L i f e i s Walcott's sense of d i v i s i o n between his African and his European ancestors. As well, they ignore or refuse to accept hi s pragmatic insistence that "the language of exegesis i s English" ("Twilight" 31), and his consequent decision to use that language and sty l e , but to use i t i n a new way, "making creative use of his schizophrenia" ("Twilight" 17). What these c r i t i c s dismiss as merely imitative, I read as a powerful re-writing which allows Walcott to claim, rather than silence his European heritage, modifying h i s inheritance to ensure i t s continued relevance by i n s c r i b i n g within i t the previously silenced r e a l i t i e s of the Caribbean. 80 Notes 1. C a p i t a l i z i n g "Nature" i s common both throughout The Prelude and throughout much of the c r i t i c i s m dealing with i t . This c a p i t a l i z a t i o n i s useful to d i s t i n g u i s h the Nature which i s transcendent from the d a i l y manifestations of "nature" through which the greater "Nature" i s known. John Williams, i n Wordsworth: Romantic Poetry and Revolution P o l i t i c s (Manchester: Manchester UP, 1989), uses the c a p i t a l i z e d form to point out that, for the Romantics, "Nature had become the source of divine revelation, and i n consequence 'Nature' and 'God' were often treated synonymously" (3). He delineates Wordsworth's " d i s t i n c t i o n between a love of natural objects for t h e i r own sake"—what we might c a l l small-n nature—"and a more profound love engendered by a recognition of the permanent moral and s p i r i t u a l truths with which natural objects were imbued" (5). The l a t t e r more profound love i s for that Nature I w i l l discuss using a c a p i t a l "N." 2. See Edward Kamau Brathwaite's History of the Voice: The Development of Nation Language i n Anglophone Caribbean Poetry, London: New Beacon, 1984. 3. Harold Bloom's theory about the r e l a t i o n s h i p between poets and t h e i r precursors i s outlined i n h i s work, The Anxiety of Influence (New York: Oxford UP, 197 3) . 81 4. I have not confirmed that t h i s i s the version included i n Walcott's curriculum, but i t does seem a reasonable conjecture. 5. Endnotes to Stephen G i l l ' s e d i t i o n of the t h i r t e e n -book Prelude i n William Wordsworth (Oxford: Oxford UP, 1990) are very useful for pointing out a l l u s i o n s made i n The Prelude to Paradise Lost. 6. M.H. Abbrams c a l l s t h i s a l l u s i o n "the f i r s t prominent instance of Wordsworth's c a r e f u l l y chosen and allocated a l l u s i o n s to Paradise Lost." He says i t i s a "very s t r i k i n g instance, because i n his opening he echoes the c l o s i n g l i n e s of Milton's epic, when Adam and Eve, between sadness and expectancy, leave paradise to take up t h e i r journey i n t h i s world of a l l of us" (115). Abrams disagrees with c r i t i c s who see t h i s as e s t a b l i s h i n g The Prelude as a sequel to Paradise Lost, pointing out that though the preamble comes f i r s t i n the s t r u c t u r a l order of the Prelude, i t inaugurates the stage of the narrator's l i f e which comes l a s t i n i t s temporal order. It i s not, then, The Prelude which Wordsworth meant to dovetail into the place i n Milton's poem at which man, having l o s t paradise, sets out on his pilgrimage to recover i t again, but the narrative which follows The Prelude; namely, the opening book of The Recluse proper, Home at Grasmere." (116-7) 82 Nevertheless, the journey which the reader w i l l undertake with Wordsworth's poet persona, the journey i n which Wordsworth w i l l re-shape his l i f e for narration must begin at the outside edge of a garden which r e c a l l s that of Paradise Lost. Susan Wolfson, i n her a r t i c l e "'Answering Questions and Questioning Answers': The Interrogative Project of The Prelude" [The Prelude ed. Nigel Wood (Buckingham: Open UP, 1993) 125-165] considers how t h i s M i l t o n i c echo i s "more complexly scripted with important counter-intimations," looking at ways in which the echo "not only forecasts providence [but] also brings into play a s c r i p t of f a i l u r e and a l i e n a t i o n . " She points out that although Wordsworth's "hero's voice does not pause over t h i s double legacy," Wordsworth's sense of i t i n f l e c t s the voicing of h i s next question which, though s t i l l cast i n a r h e t o r i c of affirmation, bears a more hesitant tone, and as a consequence, an ambiguous sense" (150). 7. Paul B r e s l i n makes t h i s connection i n h i s review, "'I Met History Once, But He Ain't Recognize Me': The Poetry of Derek Walcott" Tri-Ouarterlv 68 (1987): 168-183. Russell Banks' street-wise character, Bone, paraphrases hi s Rastafarian mentor i n Rule of the Bone (Toronto: Vintage Canada, 1996) asserting continuity between, slavery, colonialism, and tourism. As he says, 83 when the English found out how colonization was a cheaper and less vexatious way than slavery for getting r i c h without having to leave London excpet on vacation, they went and freed a l l t h e i r slaves and colonized them instead. And afte r that when the English queen f i n a l l y died and they had to l e t Jamaica go free the Americans and Canadians invented tourism which was the same as colonization, he said only without the c i t i z e n s of the colony needing to make or grow anything. (157) 8. Harold Bloom discusses the contemporary poet's r e l a t i o n s h i p with his l i t e r a r y forebears i n terms of Father and son. Walcott's use throughout of the word "master" draws on i t s many Caribbean connotations as well as suggesting the inevitable "anxiety of influence." 9. In The Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry, Harold Bloom develops a reading of Paradise Lost "as an allegory of the dilemma of the modern poet" (20). In t h i s , he applauds subversive or Satanic resistance to a predecessor's poetry as strength in contrast to Adamic attempts and impulses which are seen as weak (20-24) . He goes on to c i t e Blake who, as Bloom says, names one state of being Adam, and c a l l s i t the Limit of Contraction, and another state Satan, and c a l l s i t the Limit of Opacity. Adam i s given or natural man, beyond which our imaginations w i l l 84 not contract. Satan i s the thwarted or restrained desire of natural man, or rather the shadow of Spectre of that desire. Beyond t h i s s p e ctral state, we w i l l not harden against v i s i o n , but the Spectre squats i n our repressiveness, and we are hardened enough, as we are contracted enough. (24) Bloom makes i t clear that poets "this l a t e i n t r a d i t i o n are both Adams and Satans" (24), and that "no poet since Adam and Satan speaks a language free of the one wrought by his precursors" (25). 10. Several c r i t i c s have concerned themselves with what Wordsworth does not (or cannot say). Douglas Kneale, i n h i s a r t i c l e "The Rhetoric of Imagination" ( A r i e l 15:4 [1984] 111-127) discusses Wordsworth's concerns with the incompetence of language. He quotes Roman Jakobson as pointing out that "the supremacy of poetic function over r e f e r e n t i a l function does not o b l i t e r a t e the reference but makes i t ambiguous," and goes on to say of The Prelude that such ambiguity i s most apparent i n a poem which finds i t s e l f instead narrating the seraiological problems of that narration. S h i f t i n g between an imaginative history troped as f i c t i o n , usurpation, and drama, and a f i c t i o n which purports to be history, autobiography, and epitaph, the text f e e l s obliged to descant on i t s own deformity. (12 5) 85 Gayatri Spivak's a r t i c l e "Sex and History i n The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen" provides an in t e r e s t i n g reading of The Prelude i n terms of what i s silenced or occluded: The i t i n e r a r y of Wordsworth's securing of the Imagination i s worth recapitulating. Suppression of J u l i a , unemphatic retention of Vaudracour as sustained and negative condition of p o s s i b i l i t y of disavowal, his sublation into Colerdige, rememorating through the mediation of the figure of Dorothy his own Oedipal accession to the Law, Imagination as the androgyny of Nature and Man — Woman shut out. I cannot but see i n i t the sexual-p o l i t i c a l program of the Great Tradition. I f , i n di s c l o s i n g such a programmatic i t i n e r a r y , I have l e f t aside the irre d u c i b l e heterogeneity of Wordsworth's text, i t i s also i n the in t e r e s t of a cert a i n p o l i t i c s . I t i s in the intere s t of suggesting that, when a man (here Wordsworth) addresses another man (Coleridge) i n a sustained conversation of a seemingly universal topic, we must learn to read the microstructural burden of the woman's part. (136) Although Walcott does at least attempt i n places to speak the woman's part, his attempts are such that i t seems f a i r l y 86 cle a r that Spivak would place him squarely i n the Great T r a d i t i o n . Susan Wolfson's a r t i c l e "'Answering Questions and Questioning Answers': The Interrogative Project of The Prelude" (The Prelude, ed. Nigel Wood, Buckingham: Open UP, 1993) also examines the unsaid i n The Prelude, by exposing evasions and indeterminacies in what she c a l l s Wordsworth's "interrogative d i a l e c t i c s . " Although she does not do so i n her essay, she suggests that "a wider application of [these d i a l e c t i c s ] to the s o c i o h i s t o r i c a l forces shaping both notions of s u b j e c t i v i t y and attitudes about h i s t o r y as they are represented i n , or excluded from, his autobiography" (162, my emphasis) might be useful. 11. Elaine Fido i n "Walcott and Sexual P o l i t i c s : Macho Conventions Shape the Moon," i n The L i t e r a r y Half-Yearly 26.1 (1985) 43-61, finds Walcott's treatment of women throughout his work disappointing. She r e l a t e s h i s depiction of Woman to his use of the moon as symbol, pointing out that i t i s used to convey images of whiteness, fecundity, and witchery. 12. In his a r t i c l e , "Painters and Painting i n Another L i f e , Edward Baugh offers a thorough discussion of Walcott's use of amber imagery. 13. The King Lear a l l u s i o n , of course i s to Lear's 87 exclamation i n Act I I I : "0, that way madness l i e s ; l e t me shun that" (III, iv'f 21) . 14. Again, Susan Wolfson i s intere s t i n g to read on the issue of Wordsworth's use of the interrogative. 15. The theme of d i v i s i o n i n Another L i f e i s discussed i n numerous other a r t i c l e s . Pamela Mordecai, for example i n "'A Cryst a l of Ambiguities': Metaphors for C r e a t i v i t y and the Art of Writing i n Derek Walcott's Another L i f e " (WLWE 27:1 [1987] 93-105), l i s t s the di v i s i o n s as being between desires to paint and to write, between Anglicized/colonial/white and indigenous/black view of the world, between Creole and standard languages, between puerile and mature attitudes, between the r e a l and the idealized, between art and a c t u a l i t y . (94) In "Commonwealth Albums: Family Resemblance i n Derek Walcott's Another L i f e and Margaret Laurence * s The Diviners" (WLWE 22:2 [1982] 262-268), Clara Thomas sums up Walcott's d i v i s i o n in race between England and St. Lucia, and beyond that he i s linked by blood to a remote A f r i c a n past. In r e l i g i o n he i s pulled between h i s family heritage of Methodism, the dominant Catholicism of the Castries he knew as a boy, and 'an atavism stronger than t h e i r Mass / stronger than chapel / whose tubers gripped the rooted middleclass / 88 beginning where African began / i n the body's memory.* (265) 16. Edward Baugh provides a careful reading of the poem's painting imagery and includes useful information about references to books, paintings, and a r t i s t s alluded to i n Another L i f e i n his a r t i c l e "Painters and Painting i n Another L i f e . " 17. The young poet i s brought to t h i s scene of sexual g u i l t by rowboat. The regular pentametrical l i n e s of t h i s section (the t h i r d section of Chapter 13) to describe what Walcott de l i b e r a t e l y c a l l s the "pentametrical" rowing help to connect i t with another important rowing scene i n pentametre, that of Book I i n The Prelude. The l a t t e r i s also heavily imbued with g u i l t , which although ostensibly a g u i l t at the "act of st e a l t h " (1.388) i s t o l d i n language which connotes sexuality: " l u s t i l y / I dipped my oars into the s i l e n t Lake, / And, as I rose upon the stroke, my Boat / Went heaving through the water" (1.401-404). 18. Jamaica Kincaid's The Autobiography of My Mother (New York: Farrar Straus Giroux, 1996) i s inscribed "For Derek Walcott." 19. See Ashton Nichols" a r t i c l e "The Revolutionary ' I ' : Wordsworth and the P o l i t i c s of Self-Presentation" i n Wordsworth i n Context Ed. Pauline Fletcher and John Murphy (Lewisburg: Bucknell UP, 1992) pp. 66-84. for a more 89 thorough consideration of the relationship between Wordsworth's s e l f and his s e l f as text. 20. See Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak's "Sex and History i n The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen." 21. Merchant includes Dante's Commedia as an even e a r l i e r autobiographical epic, c i t i n g Emerson's praise of Dante "that he dared to write his autobiography i n c o l o s s a l cypher, or into u n i v e r s a l i t y " (41). 22. Although Merchant states that "Chaucer's Canterbury Tales have no more claim than Langland's poem to be classed as a conventional epic," he includes them i n h i s consideration of the epic because they are another contribution to the t r a d i t i o n . . . the simple device of having them a l l on a pilgrimage to Canterbury, during which each pi l g r i m was to t e l l two pairs of s t o r i e s to beguile the time. The r e s u l t i s a long poem with a d i s t i n c t o ral character . . . and again the poet has found a loose structure which w i l l accommodate every contemporary class and custom. (43) 23. In his Graduating Honours B.A. essay "Black Greeks: The Odyssey and the Poetry of Derek Walcott" (University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1990), Lachlan Murray discusses Walcott's Epitaph for the Young, pointing out i t s 90 d i r e c t connection with Another L i f e and noting that i t i s a long poem i n twelve cantos. In an interview with Robert Hamner, Walcott says of Epitaph for the Young that i t i s "sort of l i k e an Urtext of Another L i f e " ("Conversation with Derek Walcott," World Li t e r a t u r e Written i n English, 16 [1977]: 409-420). 24. See Note 21 for more on Paul Merchant's consideration of Dante's Commedia as the " e a r l i e s t epic written i n the f i r s t person" (38). 25. Rei Terada makes the useful generalizations that mimesis can be taken "to mean the representation of r e a l i t y , and 'mimicry' the representation of a representation, a r e p e t i t i o n of something i t s e l f r e p e t i t i o u s " (1), and he points out that "for Walcott mimicry, with a l l i t s ambivalent f r e i g h t , replaces mimesis as the ground of representation and culture" (2). 26. Edward Baugh offers a b r i e f version of t h i s b a t t l e on page 45 of Derek Walcott: Memory as Vis i o n : Another Life. 27. This claim of the Romantic project as a re-fashioning of these meta-narratives to save t r a d i t i o n a l concepts, schemes, and values which had been based on the r e l a t i o n of the Creator to his creature and creation, but to reformulate them within the p r e v a i l i n g two-term 91 system of subject and object, ego and non-ego, the human mind or consciousness and i t s transactions with nature (13) i s the central focus of M.H. Abrams1 Natural Supernaturalism. 28. This i s s u r p r i s i n g l y s i m i l a r to the image i n The Prelude of the flood overtaking and destroying the book ca r r i e d (in the form of s h e l l and stone) by the Arab i n Wordsworth's friend's dream. The "nothing" also has s p e c i a l resonance for the Caribbean, of course, r e c a l l i n g as i t must Naipaul's well-known comment in The Middle Passage (Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1969) that "nothing was created i n the West Indies" (29). 29. Susan Lohafer refers to the space around each story i n a c o l l e c t i o n of short stories as an ontological gap, for which she uses the metaphor of a moat (Lohafer 52). Afte r leaving the ontological space of one story and before entering the next, the reader must cross the moat of the " r e a l " world. 30. Edward Baugh draws attention to Another L i f e ' s " r i c h v a r i e t y of moods, and the subtlety, sometimes the subtle suddenness, with which the poet s h i f t s the emotional gears of the poem" (28). This sudden mood-shifting forces 92 t h e r e a d e r t o make a d j u s t m e n t s o r , i n e f f e c t , t o " b e g i n a g a i n . " 93 Works Cited Abrams, M.H. Natural Supernaturalism: T r a d i t i o n and Revolution in Romantic Literature. New York: Norton, 1971. Ashcroft, B i l l , Gareth G r i f f i t h s , and Helen T i f f i n . The Empire Writes Back: Theory and Practice i n Post-Colonial Literatures. London: Routledge, 1989. Baugh, Edward. "Painters and Painting i n 'Another L i f e ' " Caribbean Quarterly 16.1-2 (1980): 83-93. Bloom, Harold. Anxiety of Influence: A Theory of Poetry. New York: Oxford UP, 1973. Breiner, Lawrence. "Tradition, Society, The Figure of the Poet." Caribbean Quarterly 26.1-2 (1980): 1-12. Huggan, Graham. "A Tale of Two Parrots: Walcott, Rhys, and the Uses of Colonial Mimicry." Contemporary L i t e r a t u r e 35.4 (1994): 646-660. Ismond, P a t r i c i a . "Walcott versus Brathwaite." Caribbean Quarterly 17.3-4 (1971): 54-71. Lane, M. Travis. "A Different 'Growth of a Poet's Mind': Derek Walcott's Another L i f e . " A r i e l 9 (1978): 65-78. Lindenberger, Herbert. On Wordsworth's Prelude. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 1976. Lord, George deForest. T r i a l s of the Self: Heroic Ordeals in the Epic Tradition. Hamden, Conn.: Archon, 1983. Merchant, Paul. The Epic. London: Methuen, 1971. Nichols, Ashton. "Colonizing Consciousness: Culture and Identity i n Walcott's Another L i f e and Wordsworth's Prelude." i n Imagination. Emblems and Expressions: Essays on Latin American, Caribbean, and Continental Culture and Identity. ed. Helen Ryan-Ransom. Bowling Green, Ohio: Bowling Green State University Popular Press, 1993. 173-189. Said, Edward. Culture and Imperialism. New York: Knopf, 1993 . Spivak, Gayatri C. "Sex and History i n The Prelude (1805): Books Nine to Thirteen" Texas Studies i n L i t e r a t u r e and Language 23.3 (1981): 324-260. Terada, Rei. Derek Walcott's Poetry: American Mimicry. Boston: Northeastern UP, 1992. Walcott, Derek. "Another L i f e . " i n Collected Poems 1948-1984. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1986. F i r s t E d i t i o n New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1973. "What the Twilight Says: An Overture." Introduction. Dream on Monkey Mountain and Other Plays, by Derek Walcott. New York: Farrar, Straus & Giroux, 1970. 3-40. Walker, A l i c e . Rev. of Another L i f e . Excerpted i n Contemporary Li t e r a r y C r i t i c i s m (1975): 576. Wordsworth, William. "The Prelude" (1805). i n William Wordsworth. Ed. Stephen G i l l . Oxford: Oxford UP, 1990. 

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