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Gunnar Ekelöf’s open-form poem A mölna elegy : problems of genesis, structure and influence Thygesen, Erik 1983

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G U N N A R E K E L ^ F ' S O P E N - F O R M P O E M A MO LN A E L E G Y ; P R O B L E M S O F G E N E S I S , S T R U C T U R E A N D I N F L U E N C E Erik Thygesen B^ .A., University of Toronto, 1973 M.A., University of Toronto, 1975 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY in THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES (Programme i n Comparative Literature) We accept this thesis as conforming to; the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA May 1983 ci^Erik: Thygesen, 1983 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r reference and study. I f u r t h e r agree t h a t permission f o r extensive copying of t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the head of my department or by h i s or her r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying or p u b l i c a t i o n of t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l gain s h a l l not be allowed without my w r i t t e n permission. Department of Comparative Literature The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date 21 A p r i l 1983 DE-6 (3/81) Supervisor: Professor Harry Edinger GUNNAR EKEL0F1S OPEN-FORM POEM A M&JTA ELEGY: PROBLEMS OF GENESIS, STRUCTURE AND INFLUENCE After being "work in progress" for nearly 23 years, Gunnar EkelBf.1 s long; "Waste Land" poem or quotation-mosaic A MBlna Elegy appeared in 1960. For the purposes of this study I have had access to the original manuscripts, notebooks and letters of Gunnar Ekel5f. Part I As i s also the case with T. S. Eliot's: The Waste Land, the c r i t i c a l appraisal of Gunnar EkelBf's open-form poem A MBlna Elegy has been marked by the dominance of a ho l i s t i c approach to literature; the work has accordingly been described! either as chaotic and structureless and seen as reflecting EkelBf 'S3 evolving, contradictory views of art during: the: long period of gene-sis or the attempt has been made to reconcile the: chaotic impression which the poem makes with the? traditional criterion of "textual, unity" by recourse to: the notion of musical structure or to the^ idea of the- l y r i c a l " I " as.focal point and unifying?principle. The f i r s t part of this: study has been devoted to: an examination of those extrinsic elements i n EkelBf's world view and aesthetics which motivated his use of the open structure i n A MBlna. Elegy: his aesthetics of the indistinct and interest i n the: active reader rolej his. aesthetics of the incomplete. Works by Egbert Faas* Umberto Eco and Fr i t j o f Capra have provided the conceptual framework for the notion of the open-form, i.e. of Western art forms which make use of trains of thought common to Eastern mysticism and modern physics and to which the traditional notion of "organic unity" i s not germane. Part II The second half of this study concerns i t s e l f with an exploration of the question of the supposed influence of T. S. Eliot on Gunnar Ekelttf, the; subject of considerable debate among Swedish c r i t i c s ; the centre of intereat has been the possible influence of Eliot's Four Quartets on Ekelttf's collec-tion Fera^_Song ( 1 9 4 1 ) and, more importantly, the possible influence of The  Waste Land on A Mttlna Elegy. Several aspects of the Eliot-EkelbT interfer- . ence hypothesis; have been examined: the history of Eliot's supposed i n f l u -ence on Ekeltlf' i n c r i t i c a l circles; EkelBf's reception of Eliot;Eke10f«s a t t i tude towards the? concept of "influence"; his views on the question of' his supposed dependency on E l i o t ; textual similarities i n EkelUf's work which could conceivably be put forward i n support of the Eliot-EkelBf influence hypothesis. i v Contents Abstract . . . . . . . . . . . . . • . . . . 11 Acknowledgements • v i General Plan to A MOlnai Elegy (Manuscript Copy) v i i Introduction . . . . . . . . . . 1 Part I. Genesis? and Structure: The Elegy as; an Open-Form 7 ~~6n serviam, Far.jesang and th& Elegy: Simultaneous Genesis- and Organic Generation 8 "Individualsymbole": The Thrush, the Cuttle-Fish and the Archaeopteryx . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 The Ambivalence oft Time . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28 The Thematic Hexus;; of Death by Water and the Theme of Time 38 The Topicality of the Elegy; the Elegy as: Social-P o l i t i c a l Criticism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 46 Biographical Background to the Elegy's Genesis 50 The Aesthetics; of the Incomplete: The Work: Process as Telos . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 55 The Aesthetics of the? Indistinct and the Active Reader Role 60 The; "Mythical Method" and the Typography of the Elegy . . . 69 The: Quotation-Allusion Techniques . . . . . •• 75 EkelOfi 'ss Concept of Tradition and Culture . . 79 EkelBf'ai Conception of History and Classical Antiquity 89 The Antiaesthetic and "Over-Refinement's Homesickness for Na'iveteV'; the Poetic Document and the "Gesamt-kunstwerk" 109 The Problem of Unity: The Elegy as an Open-Form 119 V Part I I . The Problem of Influence: EkelBf, Elio t and "le Demon de l'analogie" 130 The Concept of Influence and the QuestionabiMty of Influence Studies • • • • * . 131 The; Farjesang-Four Quartets Debate . . . 144 Clarte'and EkelBf s F i r s t Contacts with E l i o t 1 as Work 162: "Prufrock," Promenader och utflykter and EkelBf & Eli o t Contacts during the War Years; E l i o t , Petronius and the Theme of Impotence • . 1i6>5 En MBlna-Elegdi, The Waste-: Land and the Cumaean Sibyl: Common Sources:: i n Petronius 172 Common Sources; i n The Tempest and Shakespearean Sea' Symbolism; Shakespeare, Joyce-and Petronius: as Influ-ences on EkelBf 180) EkelBf, E l i o t and Swederiborga Neoplatonism and the Cyclical World View, 186 EkelBfian Animism and the Fascination with "Things" . . . 194 The Rape-Abortion Motif; the Elegy as, an Eliotian Postwar "Levnadsstamning^' 203 Some Recent Hypotheses off Influence by EkelBf Critics . . 206 EkelBfs Reception of the Conservative E l i o t ; the History of Their Personal Contacts . . . 212 Pound and EkelBf; the Normative, P o l i t i c a l Implications of "Influence" Hypotheses; EkelBfs Concept of Anonym-i t y and His Views on Originality . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . 233 Notes 238 Bibliography 269 Appendix: • 281 v i Acknowledgements I wish to thank the following people for their support: Prof. Lars Warme of the University of Washington, to whose generosity, c r i t i c a l perspicacity and considerable help with the Swedish translations: I owe a great debt; fru Ingrid EkelOf, who very kindly opened up her home for me and helped me i n every possible way with my research; Prof. Harry Edinger of the Programme i n Comparative Literature, University of British Columbia; Prof. Marketa Goetz-Stankiewicz of the Department of Germanic Studies, University of Bri t i s h Columbia; Prof. Bengt Landgren of the University of Uppsala, my thesis super-visor during the year of research i n Uppsala; the archival staff of the Rare; Books and Manuscript Section of Uppsala University Library, who very patiently answered a l l of my questions; my two Uppsala friends Sonja Svensson and Piia Houe, who kept me alive during a d i f f i c u l t year i n Uppsala. I would also like to acknowledge the considerable financial support of the University of Br i t i s h Columbia3, and of the Killam Fellowship Fund during long years of study. VII M*Ui44 G^JL-UU QjLuAA tuy<^<-~ 7 u£{L^i~- /^VtfCl-t'J jji<yu*Kx 1 Introduction In the f i r s t part of the following dissertation, I have concentrated principally on the structure of Gunnar EkelBf s long poem A MBlna Elegy ( i 9 6 0 ) and have attempted, By drawing on the?original manuscripts* notebooks and letters of the; poet, to illuminate some of the? aspects; of EkelBf s own? aesthetics^ world view and work" methods? which motivated" his? use of tfte 'open-form,' that i s of a< poetic form best exemplified'by Ezra? Pound's Cantos, T. S. Eliot1,'s The? Waste- Land and William Carlos Williams' Paterson. The purpose of the study has not been to furnish an interpretation of the? work per se and I doubt whether such a project would be a conceivable possibility, for as several Swedish c r i t i c s pointed out i n their reviews of A MBlna Elegy upon its: appearance i n i 9 6 0 the Elegy i s a poem the?full significance of which i t w i l l take? decades to uncover. To put the?matter i n other terms: our theories about art, our- aesthetic criticism on the? one hand and the actual works of art on the other hand develop at different rhythms: and the Elegy has to be seem as being in advance of its? time, i n advance? off our. aesthetics, art least insofar as the latteir i s a? theoretical pursuit. There? iss some justification for my "extrinsic" rather than i n t r i n s i c approach; tfo the work: i n T. S. Eliot's definition of the? task of the c r i t i c i n an essay on Hamlet written i n 1919» as Eliot sees; i t the c r i t i c l s role i s not to: interpret the uninterpretable but rather? to furnish the necessary background information which makes the reader's? task: of attempting to under-stand the?work feasible: "Qua work: of art, the work, of a r t cannot be inter-preted; there? i s nothing to interpret; we can only c r i t i c i s e i t according to; standards, i n comparison to? other works of art; and for 'interpretation' the chief task i s the presentation of relevant hi s t o r i c a l facts which the? 2 reader is: not assumed' to know." Following this dictum my approach has "been more or less; the traditional one i n EkelOf dissertations-, that i s to make use of the enormous wealth of extraneous material i n the Gunnar EkelBf collection, Uppsala University Library, to; illuminate the workc from the outside. Academic c r i t i c s generally, even such a c r i t i c as Par Hell&trflm, who has; devoted considerable attention to an elucidation of Ekel&f's aeathetios of the? fragmentary/ and incomplete and i t s indebtedness; to> certain trains: of Oriental1- thought (Taoism-in particular), have persisted i n viewing EkeltJf's long mosaic off quotations A MBlna. Elegy i n the framework of such traditional and inadequate criteria, as. 'organic unity' or the notion of unity based on musical form and have, as? a result, come to an excessively negative appraisal oft the poem's artisttic merit, while at the same time ignoring both i t s speci-f i c i t y , a specificity grounded i n an aesthetics of the "charm of the indisr-tihct," and i t s general a f f i n i t y with other works written i n the open-form. Both Egbert Faas and Umberto Eco, criticss to whom I am indebted, have written pioneering works on the aesthetics of. the: open-form or open structure, which in the? domain of poetry i s represented by long poems making systematic use of the quotation-allusion technique, of a more connotative than denotative emphasis and of an impressionism which, somewhat along; the lines" of those works of literature: which lend themselvess to the type of c r i t i c a l analysis practiced by phenomenological c r i t i c s such as Wolfgang Iser, demands the active p a r t i c i -pation off the reader-. The open-form i n its ; aesthetic-metaphysical underpinning make S3 use of trainss of thought typical of and to a certain extent even i n f l u -enced by/ certain aspects of Eastern mysticism (Taoism, Buddhism) and modem physicss such as those expounded by F r i t j o f Capra i n his book The Tao of Physics: the repudiation of the classical, mechanistic notion of causality i n favour of a belief i n the i n f i n i t e interpenetration of things, whereby- the establishment of causality becomes a human impossibility; a refusal of such Euclidean notions 3 as symmetry and of the? concept of 'organic unity'; the notion of impermanence or filuxcwhereby a l l fixed, determinate and completed forms (including the? notion of the? 'finished' work: of art) are; seen as maya or i l l u s i o n and as l i f e - f a l s i f y i n g ; the refusal of the concept of 'objective knowledge,' that i s of the human capacity to perceive things i n their 'whatness?' (Joyce) or? Da-sein independent of any (human) teleology or projection, since: the observer is? regarded as inextricably linked with the? thing(s) observed, i n contradistinc-tion to the Cartesian notion of a separation of the observer and the observed which has been the foundation of: the myth of objective knowledge; the notion of stasis i n kinesis* As Egbert Faas? has: emphasized, there? i s no such thing as a perfectly realized example of a work of art i n the open-form; the notion i s not based on any ideal, realized models? but is? rather an aesthetic, metaphysical aware-ness o f the Western a r t i s t which moves; i n the direction off Oriental thought and art and modern physics?. The reader who desires a closer understanding of some of the aspects of the open-form i n art and literature as; outlined above ia?referred to the? wofcks? by Paas, Eco and Capra. Heedless to say my aim has not been to force such a personal and original poet and thinker as Gunnar Eke- . lBf into a r i g i d theoretical framework, which i n any case the notion of 'open-fbrm' i s not, but rather to use the latter concept where I found useful a f f i n -i t i e s between other artists working i n the open-form and Gunnar EkelBf, Unavoidably I have had to confront the problem of the Elegy* s long period of genesis and the question as to whether a significant evolution i n EkelBf* an-aesthetic thinking over the approximately twenty-three yeara of the poem'8 conception may be accountable for the fragmentary, chaotic and ununified impression which the work has made on many c r i t i c s and readers. While not denying that there i s a rhetorical emphasia i n the Elegy'a opening sections which the author himself may have later come to view with a certain amount of 4 estrangement, and which tends to favour the belief that the work occupies an isolated position i n Ekeldf. !s; production far distant from the grotesques: of his? Strountes. period, I have been, unable to subscribe completely to Par H e l l -strBm'32 view, that A MBlna Elegy's fragmentariness may be attributed to the divergence of two contradictory or opposed EkelBfian conceptions of art, l e t USE c a l l them the- rhetorical-aestheticizing and the antiaesthetic, conceptions of art which he adopted during two distinct periods of his a r t i s t i c develop-ment. My attempt has been rather to reconcile the two, to stress the conti-nuity of EkelBf's approach to art and thus indirectly to rehabilitate; or. re-instate his a r t i s t i c deliberataness and self-awareness. In this context I must caution the: reader against the identification of the open-form with complete chaos, randomness or arbitrariness and recommend the study of Umberto Eco's work on the? open-form as a corrective to Faas, who tends some-what to overemphasize thee "happening" aspect of works i n the open-form, i.e. the role of chance? i n their production, and f a i l s thus to stress the fact that any work of art, as long as i t i s such and a r t i s t i c a l l y informative, represents- the establishment of a more or less conventional, deliberate order; i n this sense there i s nothing arbitrary or chaotic about the open-form i n art or literature' and there: i s just as much premeditation or intention-a l i t y involvedfin i t s 3 creation as there? isr i n that of any traditional "closed" structure. In the process of examining the question of the?Elegy's genesis and structure, I have of necessity had to deal with EkelBf 's work as a whole— or with as much o f i t as; i s present to my consciousness—and with the thematic sim i l a r i t i e s , analogies and overlappings which link A MBlna Elegy with its? immediate neighbours i n EkelBf's production (Non serviam, Far.iesang) and with hiss work i n general. Here as always the only method open to the c r i t i c : is? that which Brecht has called "kritisches? Blattern." I have f e l t called upon 5 to reject the notion of 1 organic generation,1 a notion which Michael R i f f a -terre has applied most systematically i n his criticism, to reject i t not out of any fundamental disbelief or scepsis as regards the possible existence of such as. factor i n the genesis or creation of poetry but rather out of the belief that i t canehardly be^  withingthe capacity/ off the c r i t i c to reconstruct or follow the often idiosyncratic genetic meanderings off the poet; further, that these cam only be grounded i n structure of the language, i n other words given objectively, ia- just as inconceivable, aview? which R&ffaterre; seems to imply i f not state e x p l i c i t l y . In the second half of the dissertation I have? ventured to examine the; extremely elusive?question of T. S. Eliot's supposed influence on Gunnar EkelBf and to that purpose I have drawn on several long unpublished commen-taries? i n EkelBf s hand dealing with the subject of influence and with his own view of his relationship with E l i o t . In a brief introductory section I have sketched some off the d i f f i c u l t i e s connected with establishing hypotheses of influence? i n art and literature. For the theoretical framework of this section part I am indebted to the work: of Claudio Guillen and GBran Hermeren, perhaps the two best "influence" theoreticians. Two focal points? have been the centre of my interest here: f i r s t the presumed influence of Eliot's Four  Quartets on EkelBf s collection Far.jesang and second the possibility of an influence of Eliot's open-form poem The Wasste? Land on EkelBf s open-form quotation-mosaic A MBlna Elegy. Most of the textual analyses and thematic comparisons i n this second part have been devoted to; the examination of thes second case. I have also examined with a view to ascertaining their substan-t i a l i t y the various more or less detailed hypotheses of influence (not neces-saril y off the influence of Eliot) which Swedish and foreign c r i t i c s have put forward with respect to EkelBf. The possibility off an influence of E l i o t on EkelBf has been the subject of considerable controversy i n Swedish scholar-6 ly circles and the end of the debate i s hardly i n sight. The very elusive-ness of the question and of the whole conception of "influence" makes: any definitive conclusions, inconceivable but the topic i s certainly of some interest to students; of EkelBf and to those interested i n Swedish literary history. For a more detailed statement of my approach here the reader is; referred to the conclusion of this second part. With the? exception of minor material given i n the notes i n Swedish only, a l l Swedish quotes? and tit l e s : are given i n translation. For a precise statement of my translation procedure, the? reader may refer to the Appendix and to note 6. For a brief summary of my treatment of the manuscript sources, from the? Gunnar EkelBf collection, see note 1. The opening manuscript copy, which represents one of Gunnar EkelBf 3 general plans to A MBlna Elegy, i s taken from the material i n the Gunnar EkelBf collection, Uppsala University Library. 7 Genesis; and Structure: The Elegy as an Open-Form When Gunnar EkelBf' s? long poem En MBlna-Elegi (A MBlna Elegy) appeared i n Swedish bookshops? and was reviewed by numerous major Swedish li t e r a r y c r i t i c s on November 4» 1960, i t was recognized to be a significant day i n the history of Swedish l y r i c poetry. The Elegy had been "work in progress?" for a period of roughly 23 years. A note contained i n folder *j& among the uncata-logued MBlna manuscripts indicates that EkelBf had conceived the plan for the poem, although not under its? f inal t i t l e , as early as 1935s "In my imagination already i n 1935 . . . In reality i n 1939 . • . A MBlna Elegy 1'935-415" ( l fanta-sien, redan 1935 . . . I verkligheten 1939 . . . En MBlna-Elegi 1935-45)» 1 A marginal note in EkelBf's own annotated copy of the Elegy (now i n the posses-sion of firu Ingrid EkelBf) indicates that the line 1 "my. ten-thousandth sunset" (min tiotusende solnedgang), later eliminated from the published version of the work, was the nucleus of the f i r s t drafts of what was to become En MBlna- Elegi: "1937» The very f i r s t draft was 3 lines of which the last one ran 'my ten-thousandth sunset.' That was; a l i c e n t i a poetica for 30 years (at 3 0 0 — not 365—sunsets per year, something: which moreover would have been possible only i n Attica" JJ937* Allrai fBrsta utkastet var 3 rader varav den si s t a lBd 'min tiotusende solnedgang'. Detta var en licentia poetica fBr 30 ar (a 300'— ej 365—solnedgangar pr ar, nagot som f.B varit mBjligt endast i Attikalj.^ In his; book Diktaren och de skapande Bgonblicken; (The Poet and Creative Moments), which, as i t s author claims, i s one of the few books devoted specif-i c a l l y to; the problem of the genesis? of literary works, Carl Fehrman writes about Paul Valery's aesthetics and makes'a comparision between the "arbets-metod" (work methods) of Valery and that of Gunnar EkelBf: 8 In; his; day people took offence at Valery's publication of di f f e r -ent versions of the same poem, even? off contradictory versions. He always; had arguments to defend himself with and directly urged the? poets? of his; time to produce--just as composers; who work with tonal material—and to leave- behind a wealth of variations on the same theme. Among? the Swedish poets who have followed his recommenda-3 tion is; Gunnar EkelBf. Even; the^most superficial examination of Gunnar EkelBf s work methods supports the validity of Fehrman's observation. EkelBf frequently published poems;, i n various?Swedish journals, magazines and newspapers, only to revise them later and to incorporate them into his; carefully organized individual collections; of poetry. A study of the MBlnai manuscripts reveals the wealth of various; drafts (often with seemingly only minor variations; among them) to which Eke-lBf submitted the? various? sections; of the work". In the case; of En MBlna- Elegi? the same process is, at work as; i n the conception of EkelBf s f i r s t poetry collection Sent pa .jorden (Late= on Earth), of which the? author could write i n his; essay "En outsiders vag" (An Outsider's Way): "I never worked surrealistically; I worked with 50 to 100 drafts of each poem." (jag arbetade \4 aldrig surrealistiskt, jag arbetade med 50 och 100 .koncept fBr varje dikt.) Won serviam, Farjesang and the Elegy: Simultaneous; Genesis and Organic Generation Given fthe fact that the Elegy was "work i n progress" for such a? consid-erable period of time, i t i s not surprising; that a great deal of.' overlapping was to occur between the poem and the other poetry collections which EkelBf worked on during those 23 years from 1937 to 196O. Many- of the themes which have their place i n a highly impressionistic form within the: Elegy have been developed by EkelBf i n greater detail i n his other poetry collections from 9 the period* Far.jesang (Ferry Song) and- Non serviam are the two poetry collectionaswhose thematic links with En MBlna-Elegi are most obvious, but even Opus incertum and En natt i Otacac (A Night i n Otacac) have much i n common with the Elegy. As far as Far je sang, and Non serviam are concerned, Par HellstrBm has pointed to the close ties between those two poetry collec-tions from the 4 0 's and the Elegy: "As far as the two collections which enclose A MBlna Elegy are concerned, i t i s clear that many of the poems have a direct relationship with the Elegy." (Nar det galler de tva samlingar som omsluter En MBlna-Elegi ar det tydligt att a t s k i l l i g a dikter har direkta fBrbindelser med Elegin.) The image of "death*s ship" i n EkelBfs much discussed poem "Samothrake" (Samothrace) from the 1945 collection Non serviam can easily be associated with the following lines which conclude the? 1789 section (pp. 24-25) of En MBlna-Elegi: "But i n the c l a r i t y of the night was heard again / .now.alack, now strong, aar i n rhythmically varied choruses / locked i n , below decks, the singing of the slaves..." (Men i den klara natten hBrdes ater / an svagt, to starkt, liksom i rytmiskt skilda kBrer / de innestangda slavars sang...) ( 2 5 , 258-261).^ One may also see an echo: of this Nike theme or image i n the apparently frivolous lines of the "garamal aktBr" (old actor): "-Victoria! / I belong alas also among:your captives, / beside the victory chariot-Ha!-surviving captive: ..." (-Victoria! / Jag t i l l h B r gunas ockaa dina fangna, / vid segercharen-Ha!-i survivancen fangna: • . . ) ( 1 4 , 81-83) Leiff Sjflberg i n his A Reader's Guide to Gunnar EkelBfs 'A MBlna Elegy' has viewed these lines, and correctly so, as a reminiscence of Strindberg's Ett drBmspel (A Dream Play) and i n particular of that scene where the officer waits i n vain for-his actress beloved Victoria i n front of the theatre, but he has failed to see the asso* 7 ciation with the Samothrake-Nike theme. Under the heading "Nike von Samo-thrake," the Lexikon der alten Welt describes the statue oft this Greek goddess who personified victory [Greek: Nike, Latin: Victoria J i n the following terms: "Die Basis; (aus; rhod. Stein) der GBttin i s t als Prora (Vorderteil eines Schiffes) gestaltet, auf der Nike, eben herabgebraust, heftig,aus-schreitet." The identification of Nike (Victoria) with the idea of &\ "ship of the dead" as in the poem "Samothrake" i s entirely EkelBf s invention and has no; basis i n Greek myth. In a commentary to the poem EkelBf has pointed to one mythological source of* his; own image of the ship of dead always on the point of foundering: "There i s an old Norwegian legend, perhaps also western Swedish, about the half-ship which has no stern or which has the stern under water. It i s held up by the exertions of the rowers. In Norwe-; gian this i s called the saga of Draugen." (Det firms en gammal norsk legend, kanske ocksa vastsvensk, om det halva skeppet som inte har nagon akter e l l e r som har aktern under vattnet. Det halls uppe genom de roendes anstrangningar. o 8 Pa norska heter. det sagan om "Draugen".) While the association of Nike of Samothrace with death i s EkelBf s own personal one, the motif of the ship of the dead peruse has a long mytholo-; logical tradition. Gaston Bachelard i n his analysis; of "le complexe de Caron" in L'Eau et les reves writes of the image i n terms perfectly applicable to EkelBfs own "Samothrake": "Tout ce que l a mort a de lourd, de lent, est aussi marque par l a figure de Caron. Les barques chargees d'ames; sont toujours sur le point de sombrer. Etonnante image ou l'on sent que l a Mort craint-de. mourir, ou. le noye craint encore le naufrage."^ "Samothrake" i s just one of the poemsiwhich had close ties; with the Elegy during the f i r s t stages of the latter poem's conception but as Gunnar TidestrBm has indicated in his study of "Samothrake," there i s a great deal of topicality involved i n the image of "de dBdas skepp" (the ship of the dead). EkelBf himself as late as 1967 emphasized this topicality: "The poem symbolizes the struggle during Wo±ld 11 War I I . . . . What does the poem symbolize? you ask. The belief i n a victory over the e v i l forces of Nazism." (Dikten symboliserar kampen under andra varldskriget. . . . Vad symboliserar dikten? fragar n i . Tron pa seger Over 11 de onda nazimakterna.) Prom at more generally human point of view, however, "Samothrake" and the image of the ship of the dead maintains i t s relevance even for the f i n a l 1960 version of the Elegy. TidestrBm has, I believe, correctly analyzed the significance of the Nike image when he connects i t with: the poet's vision of human culture i n general, a vision which i s at once pessimistic and optimistic. EkelBf has himself indicated that "Samothrake" contains "a vision of time, of 12 man's evolution" (en vision av tiden, av manniskans utveckling). The meaning of the poem i s obviously condensed i n the figure of Nike, the personification, of victory. She symbolizes?the ambivalence of EkelBf*s view of l i f e : there i s no ultimate goal i n l i f e , for the "goal" i s continually receding and ultimately unattainable, and yet despite the pessimism inherent i n this view, the struggle i t s e l f i s a kind of telos. TidestrBm concludes perceptively: Nike, the goddess of victory, i s herself a cloud image. Has anyone ever possessed her, won the victory, reached the goal? Hardly. At the most he has helped someone else on the way towards her. The . goal recedes continually like the figure-head on the ship. But i f this is true, then of course the goal, the harbour i s on board, then the victory i s connected with the struggle i t s e l f . . . . ^  EkelBf's own commentary to the poem validates TidestrBm's interpretation: "The figure of Nike i s Victory, the perhaps temporary victory, consequently not the goal, since no victory i s definitive. Victory involves a continual striving." (Gestalten av Nike Sr Segern, den kanske t i l l f a l l i g a i segern, a l l t s a inte malet, d&rfBr att ingen seger ar definitiv. Segerninnebar ett standigt bemBdande.) EkelBf's attitude towards the problem of a human teleology as expressed i n 12 "Samothrake" comes close to the words of the angels in the second part of / 15 Goethe's Faust: "Wer immer strebend sich bemtLht, / DenkOnnen wir erlOsen." Another example of this overlapping of motifs, themes and allusions; between the Elegy and other poetry collections of EkeltJf from the 40's i s the poet's use of the famous song of A r i e l from Shakespeare's The Tempest (Act I, Scene 2). One of the drafts to En MBlna-Elegi and i n particular to i t s La B r i n v i l l i e r s section (p. 49) contains the line "Full fathom five" from Ariel's song: "Fu l l fathom five thy father l i e s , Of his bones are coral made, Those are pearls that were his eyes. Nothing:of him that doth fade But doth suffer a sea change Into something rich and strange. Sea nymphs hourly ring his knell." The above-mentioned line did not, however, find i t s way into the f i n a l version of this scene from the Elegy but rather into the poem "Bal des petits; l i t s blancs," one of the "Havstema" (Sea themes) i n Non serviam: "A l i t t l e boy stands / i n front of the dark aquarium / Full, fathom five thy father l i e s - " (En l i t e n pojke star / inf5r akvariets; dunkel / Fem famnar djupt din fader-). What K j e l l Espmark. says i n his book S.jalen i b i l d (The Soul as Image) about the genesis of Erik Lindegren's Mannen utan vag (The Man without a Way) could apply equally well to lines iri@Ekel8f.Xs poetry such as the above Shakespeare quditeioilln other words isolated passages did not develop organically within the: configuration i n which they f i n a l l y are to be found. Neither does an image have to have*' been orystallized i n the syntactic context i n which i t f i n a l l y functions." (Ehstaka passager har med andra ord inte nBdvandigtvis: vuxit fram organiskt inom den gestalt dar de slutligen aterfinns. Ihte heller 15 behBver enibild ha utkristalliserats i . det syntaktiska. sarmmhhang dar den: t i l l s i s t fungerar.)^ In his notes to the 1962 re-edition of the- Sent pa  .jorden material, EkelBf points to the same process whereby the poet seemingly randomly shuffles around lines and fragments which have been; generated! i n one particular "organic" context to such an extent that they end up i n an entirely foreign context: Some of these fragments have also beem used later i n different poetry collections, but because this? has taken place i n forms which are i n part quite modified and i n different contexts which are not organic compared to the [original] poems, for me there i s a certain curiosity value involved in replacing them i n their original state and i n putting them: back: into? what remains? of their 17 original surroundings. If this apparently random shuffling process i s more easily comprehensible and "nachvollziehbar" when one i s dealing with? direct quotes or allusions as above, when the passage or line i n question i s an original one and yet has? been?allowed to; function i n two separate contexts at variance with each other, the process, at once psychological and creative, which f i n a l l y led to i t s inclusion i n one context to the exclusion of another "organic" one i s more d i f f i c u l t to follow, l e t alone explain. The c r i t i c Michael Riffaterre has in both of his works Semiotics of Poetry and La production du texte developed and applied the concept of the "semantic matrix" from which an entire poem: may be generated through a process ofT elaboration, association and expansion. In his use of Ri'ffaterre |:s concept to analyze EkelBf s poem "Bversvamnihg iL stor-siLaget landskap" (flood i n a grandiose landscape) from Sent pa .jorden, the Swedish c r i t i c Erik Mesterton arrives at the following definition of the , matrix: There exists i n every poem, according to Riffaterre, a nucleus which he calls a matrix. The matrix consists of a minimal phrase, sometimes an entire? sentence, sometimes a single word, which i n that case i s not present i n the poem. Most often the matrix can be found in the f i r s t lines or sometimes i n the t i t l e . This then generates a series of variations u n t i l the thematic possibilities are exhausted. The matrix contains therefore the information which i s repeated throughout the poem and which give© i t unity and therefore significance. He calls this variation process "expansion."^ A good example of lines from Ekelttf which have- come to function i n two more or less differing contexts and would thus seem to belie the idea of a semantic matrix out of which the "organic unity" of the poem is; generated--or at leaat to point to the insurmountable d i f f i c u l t i e s which the c r i t i c faces when trying to reconstruct the process of generation and expansion—can be found i n one of the.drafts to the previously mentioned La B r i n v i l l i e r s section of the Elegy. Here we encounter the? two lines "(you are weighed i n the balance and found / partly light, partly heavy)" [(du air vagd pa en vag or sathea? be cremated £cremated so thatj with r i s i n g smoke and be extinguished So that the lightest part of me rises; into the stratospheres lands as; spores: on a far-away star: new l i f e so; that the medium-heavy l i e s och befunnen / dels l a t t , dels; tung] P u l l fathom five [ i want to] drown; without a plank, [wither*] a cannon-15 i n everyman'S garden as manure so that the heavy part when the ashes: are scattered floats i h the oceans is-swallowed and disgorged as unsuitable by the oceans* fi s h and goldfish. [Chinese urisuitability] so)that the: heaviest part sinks to the bottom. SOD that the heaviest heaviest part is;; united with the centre, (you are weighed i n the balance and found partly l i g h t , partly/ heavy).1 ^  * and The last two; lines quoted! above were ultimately included i n section 4 of EkelBf'a? "Tag och skriv" ("Write i t Down")(Farjesang. 1941): I abandon myself lik e the; last rat a sinking ship; a burning wreck:: from which the depths w i l l get theirs when the; heights have got theirs, (you: are weighed i n the balance and found partly- l i g h t , partly heavy), driving? shipwrecked: upon the darkness changing: shapes, drawn and illumined by the; star of enigmatic atruggle, she who; -isnseen i s mightier than the sun or moon, , she who i s both single and double, dark and ligh t , a l l at once! Not in order. To give a last example which would refute the idea of an organic generation of the poem, one could mention the fact that the folder which; bears the heading •aktuellt' (topical) among the MBlna? manuscripts? contains: a draft to? the "Avsked" (Leavetaking) section of the Elegy (one of the f i r s t sections of the poem to be published, namely i n the journal-Ars i n 1942) which is?much 1:6 trie same as the; version printed i n 1942 and the "definitive" version of i960. This particular draft has the rather frivolous liness"Splendid. Really/ excel-lent. / Or had, very had" (S f o r t r a f f l i g t , alldeles utmarfct. / Ell e r i l i a , gariska daligt), which i n slightly altered form: were finally/ placed i n an entirely different section of the work, namely/ the "Tant Gra, Tante Gran, Tante Louche" section which follows the? "Hesperos" loculus plate (pp. 21-23). Despite the t r i v i a l i t y - of the lines, this example would appear to; be another proof of the applicability of Espmark's remark to»EkelBf'sswork as well as making one rather sceptical with regard to the notion of "organic generation." Several factors complicate a l l efforts; to establish the lines or contours off EkelBf's:; evolving conception of the poem which; was; was to; become En MBlna- Elegi. In the f i r s t place one must deal with the disordered state; off the MBIna manuscripts. TJhtil. EkelBf * s innumerable manuscripts:, drafts and notebooks have been; catalogued by; a competent authority, this d i f f i c u l t y w i l l constantly have to> be confronted. In; addition, givem the more or less erratic; fashioriuin which Ekeltlf usedl his notebooks, f i r s t beginning at one end, then turning the notebook over and beginning at the other end,'«it i s often next to impossible to date the various notebook entries with any-degree of r e l i a b i l i t y , unless of course there i s the author's own dating to go by. EkelBf describes the way in which he manipulated his notebooks i n a note dated 1962 i n his "antecknirigsbok P" (notebook P): In such notebooks as these everything doesn't have to be from the year they are dated; on the contrary, a lot of i t i s frequently from later, because I've taken what paper I had at hand. I've noticed that I almost always was; used to beginning them at one end—and that was often with the intention of writing a running "diary" of some kind—only to begin later from the other end (with the book turned upside down) with a similar (though less firm) intention. That which i s i n the middle i s probably later than both of these - . . . 20 beginnings'. In Diktaren och de skapande Bgonblicken Carl Pehrman has given the following description of Paul Valery's poetic practice: Two' things are worth commenting on before we leave this i n i t i a l phase of poetry, the sestinaw One i s the fact that Valery clearly began the poem while? at the same time he was busy composing other poems; almost a l l the poems in Charmes were written, Valery, said, M;siinaltanement." This state of affairs is: not unusual; many parallels i n the notebooks of other poets; could be cited. During a productive period the flow o f ideas and impulses certainly begins 21 to flow again from many directions, Fehrman's description of the process of simultaneous genesis is; certainly applicable to? EkelBf' s? creative practice and to connections which the^Elegy has with;Far.jesang and Non serviam. Polder *c' among the MBlna manuscripts contains a rather detailed plan or "disposition" for Far.jesang, the poetry collection which EkelBf considered to be his?breakthrough following the regression which the romantic, Rimbaldian poetry collections of the 30 fs (Dedika/fcLony Sorgen och st.jarnan and KBp den blindes sang) (Dedication, Grief and Stars and Buy the Blind Man's Song) constituted with respect to the remarkable debut off Sent pa .jorden. One of the poems cited i n group I I I of this layout for Far.jesang is? a "MBlnaelegi (han pa terrassen)" JMBlna Elegy (the? one on the terrace)] • Other poems mentioned there outside of the ones that were actually incorporated i n the 1941 collection are "De drunknade" (The Drowned), "Stormen" (The Tempest) (a t i t l e obviously borrowed from Shakespeare), "Fal des l i t s ; blancs" (later forming part of Non serviam) and a poem cited as bothVEj mskr" (Not people) and "Men1 ej t i l l mskr" (But not for people). The t i t l e of the last poem i s of course taken from Heidenstam's Ensamhetens tankar (Thoughts? of Loneliness), part IV: I have longed for home for eight long years. In my very sleep I have f e l t longing. I long for home. I long wherever I go -hut not foir people! I long the? s o i l , 22 I long the stones where I played as a child. That this motif of the voyage as escape has also played i t s role i n the shaping of the Elegy i s evidenced by several commentaries of EkelBf, one ofi which i s i n the folder marked 'Bverst 1: Reflections on the fact that this inland sea, this lake are dead, that the waves are dead, the sea or lake meagre, that the route that begins here leads nowhere despite the ships that come i n from a l l countries (terra nova East Indian Company). This touch-essential to the 'journey upwards-outwards, the spi r i t u a l one at the end. Work, out and expand the observation i n connection with my present jetty and MBIna's. The waves are also my-dead. Another note (notebook AC) also mentions the motif of the longed-for but illusory, journey: "Apropos the shore with the journey i n MBIna which was begun i n thought but never realized. In? addition to the shore at MBIna, I thought of the bay at Sigtuna, of the gulf at Eleousis and perhaps of this place [the marble quarry, at Braviken] ." (Apropa stranden med den i tankarnai bBrjade, aldrig reaiiserade resan i MBIna. Tankte jag utom pa MBlnastranden pa Sigtunafjarden, viken vid Eleousis? och mftjligen detta stalle [marmorbruket i Braviken] ) . 2 ^ The most obvious? and explicit shapings of this? motif in? the Elegy i s in the "Gorgo" section (pp. 50-52): A l l that never came to be A l l that led to n u l l i t y -Waves that glittered Waves of which I used to: think: 19 You are the way to the world As far as desire you hear us But i t never begins-The above-mentioned plan for Far.jesang (capsule 'MBlna1) certainly seemss to indicate that EkelBf at one point may have even contemplated the; Elegy as a possible part of that collection. As far as the genesis of the Elegy and i t s close ties with Far.jesang are concerned, Reidar Ekner's following comment appears to be almost a b i t too cautious: "In the summer of the dark year 1941» he [EkelBf] was staying i n Oruat and working on a number of "preludes;?' intended along with A MBlna Elegy to form part, of a new poetry collection which had begun to grow out of Ferry Song already before the latter was finished." (Sommaren det mBrka aret 1941 vistades han [EkelBf J pa Orust och arbetade dar pa ett antal "preludier", avsedda att jamte En MBlna-Elegi inga i . em ny diktsamling som bBrjat vaxa; fram ur Farje-sang redan innan denna var f a r d i g . ) ^ While En MBlna-Elegi thus at one point may have been considered as: a possible section of Far.jesang, i t i s d i f f i c u l t too draw any far-reaching conclusions concerning the thematic and genetic links between the long poem and the poetry collection from 1941* EkelBf s?> elaboration of the homo maximus theme—to take just one example—in both'"En varld ar varje manniska" ("Every-one is, a world") i n Far.jesang and i n the; "Mega Alexander" section of the Elegy (p« 31, P» 33) does not warrant anything beyond conclusions; as to the enormous continuity and consistency with which the poet employed key images and themes throughout his production, a fact; which of course most EkelBf c r i t i c s have insisted! upon. The idea of "den stora manniskan" (the; homo maximus;) , that i s of the Self as a universe of its? own corresponding on a microcosmic level to; the entire universe as the macrocosm i s but one example of a theme which occupied EkelBf already i n the early years of his a r t i s t i c development. In the poem "Fossil i n s k r i f t " (Fossil Inscription 1) from the 1934 collection Dedikation, EkelBf already conceives of the psychological Self as a kind of universe i n miniature, somewhat i n the same fashion as Freud viewed the Self as composed of the i d , the ego and the super-ego. As early as 1935—not even to mention the above -mentioned poem—EkelBf points ini a rather mock-seriouse fashiorioto his own tendency to envisage the human organism as a universe i n miniature with i t s constituent elements at perpetual war with each other: Ini some way the image of the white corpuscles' defensive war against intruders has clung to me. This i n combination with other images, hints, suggestions; and parallelisms from elsewhere has so thoroughly impressed on me both i n thought and feeling the notion of. the human organism as a body p o l i t i c that I cam rarely conceive 25 of myself i n a different way. A very early draft to the section "Avsked" of En MBlna-Elegi (folder 'aktuellt'), as already mentioned one of the earliest sections of the poem to; come into, print ( i n Ars 1942), has the t i t l e "Mannen pa havet." In. what could well be? one of the early specific references to the Elegy, EkelBf writes i n a letter of 13 June 1942 to1 his publishers Bonniers: As you perhaps remember I wrote to you about the possibility of presenting you a poem for one of the f i r s t autumn issues in connection with my new poetry collection. I've been working on i t i n order to get i t finished by nddsummer i f possible, but have now come to the point where i t i s impossible and perhaps dangerous to force i t . I believe i t w i l l be a good and essential poem, preliminary t i t l e : "The Man from the Sea," circa 5-6 quartos i n 26 > length ( i f not more). In EkelBfs notebook N, which has the significant heading "Vrakgods" (Jetsam), 21 there are important indications as to how close the connections are between Molnai and the poem "Emigranten" (The Emigrant) i n Hon serviam: "Haa come? from the sea? (as a ship-wrecked man . . . only/ survivor), lost his memory, begun to recover i t , reconstructed his l i f e 1 whereby/ i t turned out that one?year can't be? reconstructed ..." [Har kommit fran havet (som skeppsbruten . * • enda Bverlevande); forlorat minnet, bttrjat aterfa det, rekonstruerat s i t t l i v varvid det befunnits att ett ar icke gar att rekon-struera • . .] This "dream" ("drommen") as i t is?labelled i n the notebook entry i s roughly the plot of the prose poem?"Emigranten." The same notebook also contains, along with an i l l u s t r a t i o n of a?Mayan? temple, the following "stage direction": "Beach, dunes w. dune grass, the sea at his back. Mystical, cellar stucks up: out of the sand, resembles Maya?building." (Strand, k l i t t e r m. strandgras, havet bakom ryggen. Mystisk kallare sticker upp ur sanden, liknar mayabyggnad.) In the same notebook: there i s also the notation "En MBlna-Elegi!+ 7 Preludier" (A MBlna Elegy + 7 Preludes) as well as the note "The Mayan temple: a dream?in the MBlna d i s t r i c t ? " (Mayatemplet: en; drBm i traktemav MBlna?) The motif of the Mayan temple plays an important role i n "Emigranten," where the shipwrecked protagonist and amnesia victim?perceives that There on the beach, further away, a curious building stood buried i n the dunes, ancient i n aspect, bui l t Cyclopean fashion out of coarse stone blocks, hewn in some geometrical, "pre-Columbian style, perhaps a Maya building... A plan for "MBlna och 7 Preludier" (folier 'Bverst') includes as one of the seven preludes a poem; "Mayatemplet: en drBm i . traktemav MBlna?" An apparently old entry/ i n pen in folder 'c' of the MBlna? papers? bears? the t i t l e "Disp.," i.e. ^Disposition" (Plan) and has. aa? one of i t s subdivisions of a planned Inferno 22 section of the Elegy "II Mayatemplet," (The Mayan temple) alongside another section labelled " I I I Stentiden" (Stone-time). An important series of nota-tions dealing with the? aspect of time in the Elegy- under the; heading "Timeless time." Time's timel'essness" (Den tidlBsa tiden. Tidens; tidlBshet) (folder 'Bverst ') points to> the; relevance of the Mayan temple image for the theme of time in; the Elegy: "Thus; i n the Inferno: the Mayan temple: where the lost year i s consciousness of imprisonment i n time, in a time which; lacks precisely the redeeming,dimension." (Sa i . Inferno: Mayatemplet: dar det fBrlorade aret ar medvetandet om fangenskap i . tiden, i era t i d som;saknar just deni fBrscnande dimensionen.") The ideai that "A fleeting moment robbed me of my/future" (Ett f l y k t i g t Bgonblick; stal. mig min framtid) (En MBlna-Elegi, 10, 21) is; common to» both. "Emigrantem" and the Elegy. The " I " of the prose poem looks back i n frustration at his past after the more or less complete recovery of his memory and tries to; reconstruct i t day- by day, year by year, but a l l attempts to build a future and to establish the causality/ of his existence are thwarted by his in a b i l i t y to account for one year: "How can I build myself a future without / verifying f u l l y my-past? /_ One year i s lost, that i s the simple; fact, • • ." (Hur bygga mig em fdramtid utam att / t i l l f u l l o kontrollera mitt fBrflutna? / Ett ar air' borta, det ar sjalva faktum, . . .) In the "Marche funebre" section of the Elegy, this idea of the missing moment appears; as a Leitmotiv, having be em introduced early i n the poem, and takes; on ai collec-tive, almost political' dimension: A flighty, moment-and now the devil i s i n the belfry, he who robbed us of our; future, robbed us of our past 25 "IndivMualsymbole": The Thrush, the Cuttle-Fish and the Arehaeopteryx: In his; extremely/ interesting book. Ob.jet trouve und SurrealismusE, Christian Kellerer develops the concept of the; "IndivMualsymboI." Ani "Individualsymbol" as Kellerer defines i t is; a personal or private symbol which-1 activates a l l the psychic?, experiential layers; of the; artiat for; whom it - i s significant i n a kind of vertical, cross-section of his; personality; i t thus represents an? "extreme investment of the libido?' ("Lih^doinveatierung") on the part of the a r t i a t , i n contrast to; some of the symbols of the surre-a l i s t s ^ which, according to Kellerer, merely/ activate the uppermost and most superficial psychic layers of the personality and thus cam be seem moire as? a r t i f i c i a l ! constructs than as real emotional investments: "Dieses gebiets-weise Kbmmunizieren a l l e r Eriebnisschichten mittels? eines; Individualsymbols lasst von einem punktuellen Schichtenkurzschluas; sprechen. Jede derartige Kurzschlusssituation zwischen den Schichten bedeutet eine? starke Libido-27 bihdung." Characteristic of the "Individualsymbol" as Kellerer defines i t i s that the activation of one of the psychic^layers associated with the sym-bol i s enough to activate? a l l the other layers specifically associated; with i t i n the vertical cross-section: "beim AntOnen der dem; Erlebnis des; Indivi-dualsymbols entsprechenden; Note i n irgendeiher Erlebnisschicht wird nicht nur das Individualsymbol selbst erinnert, sqnderm gleichzeitig auch al l e s , was 28 damit i n den tlbrigen Eriebnisschichten als dazugehtVrig assoziiert i s t . " Further, the "rndividualsymbol" can.be distinguished from the "Kollektiv-symbole" or collective symbols of, for example, a Dante, Hieronymus Bosch or Pieter Brueghel the Younger, which are "nicht als individuelle Spontan-ausdrttcke entstanden, sonderm als thematisch bedachter Symbolismua, meist 29 unter einem religitts>moraIischen Pitogrammgesichtspunkt«" Kellerer 1 s penetrating elucidation of the .operation of the "Individualsymbol" goes far 24! i n illuminating the functioning of suclu EkelBfian. symbols as the Archaeop-teryxi the bird petrified i n f l i g h t . The thereto related! images and motifs such; as the "stone-child," the Mayan temple of the early drafts to MBIna and to "Emigranten," as well, as the def ixiones and images; of the riveted a l l compose a complex and inextricable network, a sort of thematic-symbolic nexus which one can pursue a l l the way through EkelBfs work. The thrush or "trast" of En MBlna-Elegi is; a further EkelBfiian "Individualsymbol." EkelBfi has referred to i t ; as his "heraldic bird" (heraldisk fagel). The least one; can say/ about i t ; is? that i t can hardly be distinguished from the; Archaeopteryx: i n EkelBf s; psychic economy. Like the Archaeopteryx^ an illustration; of; which closes the poem, the thrush towards the end of the poem has become petrified in f l i g h t ; the last stage direction applied to the bird reads: "silent, immobile. / with i t s beak up" (tiger, orBrlig, med nabben / uppatriktad) ( 5 8 , 7 0 4 - 7 0 5 . My stress). Most of EkelBf S3 symbols seem to be "Individualsymbole" i n Kellerer's sense. The number of such symbols i n EkelBfs work i s great and, as Gunnar Brandell has stressed i n respect to one of the poet's favourite symbols, the "sepia!' or cuttle-fish, EkelBf s use of them i s surprisingly consistent: But more important i n the literary context i s a. traditionalism of another kind, an adherence to certain problems, certain images and experiences of ai personal nature;, which recur again and again i n his poetry. An example: as a thirteen-year-old Gunnar EkelBf observed, i f one i s to believe his own statements, ai cuttle-fish which a fisherman had drawn up on the beach at the Promenade des Anglais i n Nice;. This cuttle-fish with itse eight; arms; and i t s wonderful single 1 eye slithers; i t s way through: his entire produc-tion, right through a l l revolutions: i n style and a r t i s t i c experi-mentations* A catalogue of such EkelBfian themes;, of his world of images and verbal formulae, would f i l l an entire volume and would show that most of EkelBfs poetic advances are; at the same time reversions. l i t the "Gorgo" section of the Elegy (pp. 50-51), EkelBf has associated the cuttle-fish with the Greek: Gorgon in accordance with his belief i n a folklore association of the two: "Mega Alexandros i s a folklore version of Byzantine (+ modern) times. There i s a corresponding folklore association in Gorgo and the cuttle-fish later on.. She was said to be Alexander's 31 sister." As innumerable EkelBf c r i t i c s have pointed out» the coincidentia  oppositorum characteristic of such world views as those o f the mystics and of Taoism is; also characteristic of EkelBf. In keeping with this a b i l i t y to see so-called opposites as but two) aspects of a deeper, hidden unity, EkelBf can. write, for example;, i n an important essay "Verklighetsflykt" (Wirklichkeitsflucht) of the equivalence between the " e v i l " Pontius Pilate and the "good" Jesus Christ: They were; two seemingly opposed temperaments; the one objective and contemplative, the other subjective and ecstatic. The one wanted nothing and the other everything* So l i t t l e was necessary for posterity to accuse one of the two, and especially the Roman, of escapisnn [wirklichkeitsf lucht] . For what are a l l and nothing 32 but two aspects of the same thing. Similarly, i n the "Gorgo" section of the Elegy, which' i n one of the drafts; bears the t i t l e "In front of a madonna" (infBr em madonna), the question of the conflict between good and e v i l i s also posed: It i s rather that the cuttle-fish, an innocent animal which has becomes a symbol of e v i l for man, swims at the surface of the water with i t s ; wonderfully constructed and efficient eye and sees a white chapel on the headland with -a l i t t l e Theotokos (madonna), which; for man has become' a good symbol, while i n reality the entire struggle between above and below continues unabated. . . . The conceptions of good and e v i l have ancient, magical, and certainly unexplored modulations.^ 26 There i s an interesting quote from Servius among the handwritten manuscripts to a planned Petronius; essay of EkelBf (capsule 'Oversattningar') (capsule 'Translations') which helps:to illuminate the f i r s t two lines of the "Gorgo" section ("Cursed1 he thou / cursed, that i s holy") (PBrbannad vare du / fflrbannad ar uttytt helig) (50 , 5 5 8 - 5 5 9 )• I f one views the previously quoted EkelBf commentary on the sjnribol of the cuttle-fish i n the light of Servius! commentary to Vergil {is lines "Auri. sacra fames;," which i s also the f i r s t of Petronius' Fragmenta, i t becomes evident that EkelBf viewed the ten-armed cuttle-fish as a kind of collective scapegoat, just as the people of Marseilles, according to Servius, had their own o f f i c i a l scapegoats^ who were at once: i n a most paradoxical fashion cursed and sacred: 'Auri. sacra fames.' 'Sacra' means cursed. The expression comes from a Gallic: custom, for when the: inhabitants of Massilia [the old Marseilles;] were aff l i c t e d with the plague one of the poor people volunteered to let himself be fattened at the state's expense and with the finest foods. He was then: adorned with holy herbs and sacred garments, led around the entire state amid curses i n order that a l l the hardships of the state; would f a l l back: on 34 him and finally/ banished. This i s i n Petronius. Old commentator. In his book Aussenseiter Hans Mayer has pointed out that modern French with i t s "sacre" has maintained the ambivalence of the original Latin "sacer": "Das Sakrale hatte stets gleichzeitig mit Heiligung und Verruchtheit, Heil und Verdamnis, weisser und schwarzer Magie den vertrautesten Umgang. Der franzBsische Sprachgebrauch des ^sacre?' hat die Ambivalenz; bis heute auffbe-wahrt." 5 5 One of the manuscript notations among the? MBlna papers i s significant i n that i t associates the motif of the Archaeopteryx, the oldest known bird form with? rept i l i a n characteristics which was discovered i n a; f o s s i l inscription near Eichstatt in Bavaria and a l i f e form from which EkelBf extracted a ready-made image for his owni preoccupation with the idea, of "death-in-life," with the motif of the Mayan temple, which EkelBf presumably also identified with:this symbolic-thematic complex of petrified l i f e , death-in-life and suspended movement: -The Dream-Archaeopteryx The Mayan temple vign [vignette} The Mayan temple another view Several c r i t i c s have dealt with this "Symbolkomplex" or thematic-symbolic nexus; i n EkelBf* ss work. Lars Porsell has written: "This bird has later flown and sung i n so many of. his poems, a symbol of the eternal paradox, l i f e i n death, f l i g h t i n repose, the pounding heart i n the cold stone." (Denna fagel har sedan f l u g i t o c h sjungit i sa manga av nans dikter, en symbol fBr den eviga; paradoxen, l i v e t i . dBden, flykten i vilan, det bultahde hjartat i den kalla; stenen.) Ross Shideler has studied the relevance of this symbolio-thematic complex for "RBster under jorden" ("Voices under the; Ground"), perhaps the most masterful development of this paradoxical thematic nexus in EkelBf s entire work's: It i s above a l l EkelBf s; understanding of the complex, paradoxical nature of time that i s revealed through this nexus; and a l l the images; of "sluggish stone" (trBgflytande sten) or of petrified f l i g h t which; are; associated with i t . Shideler has described the treatment of time i n "RBster under jorden" i n the following terms: "Time's movement begins the poem; then the poet projects himself and his experiences of time into the floor and thus into the ground, allowing time to> become stone, to 37 become, figuratively speaking, 'petrified.'" 28 The Ambivalence of Time Ekelof's fascination with time i s of an early date, as i s evidenced hyy an entry i n his e a r l y Cahier I : I f one means by the absolute that which cannot be comprehended by reason, then the world contains? indeed an absolute element. Movement, time, whatever i t i s c a l l e d , i s completely/inexplicable. Does i t e x i s t although i t i s inexplicable? That i s d i f f i c u l t to say or rather i t i s impossible to prove the existence of t h i s i r r a t i o n a l factor. We are confronted with an insoluble mystery, that of not being able to; prove i n t e l l e c t u a l l y that we e x i s t . In any case: we now and then have a vague awareness of the: fact that we e x i s t . I think; therefore?I am? I f e e l therefore I am? But i t i s impossible to say I f e e l therefore I think; or the reverse. Time i s paradoxical because i t has? both a dynamic and a s t a t i c character; i t i s a motionless movement, a contradictio i n ad.jecto just as the expression "sluggish stone." I t i s a movement but a movement which can be divided into am i n f i n i t e number of s t a t i c points: "The present" is? equivalent to—"space." "Time and Space," that i s history (memory) + the future (hope, v i t a l i t y ) and the present, the eternally stationary moment, s t a t i c ? l i k e the concept of space and at the same time dynamic because the past and the future meet there. One can only conceive of space from the point of view o f the present. And since movement has to do both with space and time, i t can be divided by the i n t e l l e c t into a series of now-39 positions. Investigate t h i s . I f time's i r r a t i o n a l , paradoxical nature can best be- expressed by an oxymoron and ia?beyond the grasp of l o g i c a l , discursive thought, we can e a s i l y see why Ekelof throughout; En Molna-Elegi stresses.the doubleness of time, its; static-dynamic character. Most c r i t i c s who have written about the Elegy have observed this ambivalence.^0 Time is; "arrested, f l a i l e d " (hammad, hetsad); i t i s said both to bolt like a horse "years i n minutes / with a t a i l of yellow leaves" (aratal i minutes / med svans av gulnade blad) (13, 70-72) and to be stuck and "frozen i n the wet black branches of the elms" (stelnad i almarnas / fuktsvarta grenar) (14, 74-75). The red sun i n the sickness episode (pp. 25-26) i s said to r o l l " i n one moment / intolerably fast and i n the next intolerably slow" ( i ena Bgoriblicket / o l i d l i g t hastigt och i nasta outhardligt langsamt) (26, 276-277). The seconds are said to be at once "dropped moments" (bortfallna. ogonblick) and "riveted" (fastnaglade) moments (27, 315-316). One of: the drafts to "Arguments" (Argument) concerning the Elegy (published as a section of "Notes to A MBlna Elegy" £"Anteckningar t i l l En MBlna-ElegiJ i n Mgga patience [Play Solitaire J ) mentions the red "fever-b a l l " (feberklotet) of the setting sun i n connection with the same experi-ence of time's ambivalence: "The fever-ball and the strange sensation that time (personally) was racing li k e the works; of a clock whose balance-wheel had broken and personally crept forward as i f trying to smother one;'s per-sonal l i f e . " jjFeberklotet och de egendomliga fBrnimmelserna; av att tiden (personligt) rusade som ett urverk dflr oron gatt sBnder och personligt slapade sig fram som om den v i l l e kvava det personligaJ] ^  In the case of the "I's" alter ego or "du" (you) i n the sickness episode, the mechanical-scienti f i c measurement of time i s negatively contrasted to interior time or the "duree interieure" (Bergson) and experienced as oppressive and l i f e -destroying. A draft to the; poem "Ensam i natten" ("Alone at night") i n AO the collection Strountes illuminates this episode of the Elegy by identi-fying clocks with death-in-life; the only essential time i s the internal: Alone with; the? wail-clock:, t h i s machine for: non-time What, does; a metronome know about music? and about what i t i s made to measure? It s face i s ; blank: and expressionless a; discrete i d o l i t makes me aware; of the incongruity off r e l a t i v i t i e s l i f e can't be measured with death music; can't be measured with beats • • • But who; can unravel l i f e ' s i n s t i n c t ; f o r death L i f e breeds death around i t s e l f , l i f e encapsules; i t s e l f i n death 4 3 • • • This draft continues with the s i g n i f i c a n t question: "How can one free l i f e ? How; cam one a t t a i n the ecstasy off l i f e ? " ( H U T f r i g B r a l i v ? Hur; na extasem av liv/?) A marginal, note to; the same draft runs: "Anawer? flow with time / with- the tide or the streams / never argue with Time." (Svair; f l y t a med tiden / med tidvattnet e l l e r strBmmarna / a l d r i g disputera med Tiden.) To the above1 characterization of the "vMggur" (wall-clock) as "blankt och uttryckslBst" (blank; and expressionless) corresponds the stage d i r e c t i o n appended to; the "frontespisur" (front gable-clock) i n En MBlna-Elegi (19» 159)5 "(black'clock-face with; traces off g i l t figures, the handa missing)" [(svart u r t a v l a med spar av guldsiffffror, visorna; borta;)J . In E k e l B f s; 'Tidiga manuskript' ('Early manuscripts;1) capsule there i s an i n t e r e s t i n g commentary to a diary entry of Kafka, (the l a t t e r dated 16 January/1922). EkelBf f i r s t quotes Kafka's words: Die^ Uhren stimmen nicht uberein, die; innere jagt; i n einer teuf-lischen oder damonischen oder jedenfalls unmenschlichen Art, die aussere gent stockend ihren gewBhnlichen Gang. Was kann anderes geschehen, als; dass sich die* zwei. verschiedenen Welten trennem und sie trennen sich oder reissen zumindest an einander i n einer furchterlichem Art. Die Wildheit des inneren Ganges mag verschiedene Grilnde habem, der sichtbarste i s t die Selbst-beobachtung, die 5 keine Vorstellung; zur Ruhe kommen lasst, jede emporjagt, um dann selbst wieder als Vorstellung von neuer: Selbstbeobachtung weiter gejagt zu werden. EkelBfs commentary to Kafka's diary entry presents us with the image of the red sun which! he associated with that almost painfully oppressive experience of the incommensurability of a purely mechanically measured', uniform or; sci e n t i f i c time and the altogether different rhythm of internal, psycho-logical timers The most unambiguous expression I've found coming from someone else of a similar, almost identical experience, the recurrent experience of time ever since childhood partly as an inner fever-b a l l , r o l l i n g , rotating, glowing and crushing at an astronomical speed, partly as am outward! procession moving with equally bound-less s slowness, my/ breakdowns i n the presence of conflicting thoughts, for the f i r s t time i n poetic form beginning with and including Late on Earth, them a l l of Ferry Song, half of Non Serviam, a l l o f the MBIna Elegy, also the earliest poems i n Ord och B i l d . ^ The image of the setting sun which EkelBf experienced so acutely i n his; childhood i n his parents' home situated on the h i l l dominated by St. John's Church (Johanneskyrkaj)., an experience which he describes i n "The Sunset" (Solnedgangen) and i n the poem "A Door near St. "JohnJa," (En port vi'd Johannes) in the essay collection Promenader och utflykter (Walks and Excursions), also has i t s place i n the Elegy, where i t i s associated with the same ambivalence of time as indicated i n the Kafka commentary: And the red h a l l , the high fever-hall, dazzling and inflamed, came r o l l i n g over you, in one; moment of intolerable speed and in the next unendurablyr slow. ( 2 6 , 2 7 5 - 2 7 9 ) Both Leif SjBberg and Sverker Ek have pointed out the various images and motifs i n the: Elegy- which contribute to the making off the nexus;: off images of petrified or riveted movement or time: the numerous defixiones in the Latin section of the poem? (pp. 4 0 , 4 2 , 44 ) with their insistent line "Tene me ne fugia" (Hold me or I shall flee) or the so-called crux decussata or "Andreas-kreuz" which Ekelof drew himself (p. 4 6 ) . One can also mention the motif of the stone-child (stenbarn^ in the> abortion scene or " M i l l Song*,': (Kvarnsang) (PP» 37» 39» 4 1 ) » which can clearly be associated with the above-mentioned contradictory aspects of time: In the third section off hiss "Anteckningar t i l l En MBlna Elegi," EkelBf has himself stressed the paradoxical character of the:? treatment of time i n the poem, that ia; that we are to experience the; poem-both as an attempt to reconstruct a moment and as a movement: I remember Time;, I carry; i t i n me I bear i t i n me lik e a rock, a child off stone, complete and unborn- (28, 3 1 6 - 3 2 0 ) The entire thing takes place during?;an indivisible unit of time, that may be either a second or five minutes, but i n any case a a. vertical cross-section of. a l l the different layers, of simul taneously flowing.time elements; the poem flows, i s i n movement simultaneously^.]] ^ In this commentary Ekelof indicates clearly that he conceived the? Elegy as an attempt to? reconstruct the simultaneous co-existence of time elements, of past, ;present and future. The implications of this attempt, which have numerous parallels both i n Eastern? mysticism and i n modern physics?, are?, I think, the following: time i s no longer conceived of, as i s usually the case, as a one-way flow from the; past through the present into the future but rather as a four-dimensional pattern without any definite direction attached to i t so that all', events are interconnected; concomitant with this refusal of the traditional three-dimensional Euclidean notion of time as a linear succession of isolated',, discrete moments i s the abandonments of the idea of causation which goes with i t , for the notion off causation i s incon-ceivable without the- conception of time as a one-way flow. As? far as a closer understanding off EkelBf s? attitude towards the notion of causality-i s concerned, one has to turn to?his early-Cahier I (1930) for elucidation. In his Cahier I there i s no refusal off the idea of causality, s t r i c t l y speaking; but there i s an acute awareness of the human incapacity to uncover that causality due to the fact that a real grasp of causality would imply/ a complete knowledge off the i n f i n i t e l y long causal chain, rather than just the mere segment with which the notion of causality i s usually identified.: "-but complete knowledge of a thing i s of course impossible since i t would only force us?; to search for? endless causal chains upwards and downwards*" (-men en fullstandig kannedbm om ett ting-fir ju 1 omojligr eftersom den? bara tvingar oss att sBka oftndliga? kausalkedjor uppat och nedat.)^ EkelBf a? speculation on the human impossibility of unravelling the causal chain given the i n f i n i t e interconnectedness of things both i n space and time has l e f t i t s traces i n the following lines of the Elegy: Always fare on! Call me the backward one; a rudiment of one given from the start, 34 a riveted moment of some event which only i n i t s entirety can explain my/ behaviour. (31» 3 3 0 - 3 3 4 ) UndoubtedlyLeif SjQberg has interpreted EkelBf 1 s theoretical commen-taries to; the Elegy and in> particular his intention that the pdemr/be a reconstruction off one moment in time a l l too l i t e r a l l y i n his? A Reader's  Guide. What I believe EkelBf means by the "moment" and the indivisible unit of time or. "now" of which? the poem i s intended to be a representation ias made clearer by two? important notes off EkelBf, the f i r s t dating from roughly 1927, i.e. long before? the idea; of the Elegy even came to him: . Our l i f e i s i n the present; the notions?about the past and the future- which exist i n our consciousness? are; merely weak images of r e a l i t y . Does; one experience the; past by remembering; i t or the future by construing i t ? Our l i f e i s a present expanded! into* decades and l i f e a present expanded into.millennia. (I'm'not \ 4 7 quoting. Bergson but old truths and the property of every man.; This idea off a "now" which i s expanded to include past, present and future i n one? eternal moment i s clearly applicable to En MBlna-Elegi, where the reader glides effortlessly from one 5level of time to another. Another comment in the author's; notebook K also; takes up this; concept of the; expanded, eter-nal-moment: "I don't believe i n the person who looks for; happiness i n the moment but rather i n the; one2 who; i n the? moment experiences the^ past and! the future, who experiences? years*." (Jag tror inte pa den som sBker sturidens, lycka men pa den som i sturiden upplever ganget och kommande, upplever a r . ) ^ Several of EkelBf's; notes to MBIna refer to "a time beyond time, a third time, an odd time" (en t i d bortom t i d , en tredje t i d , en udda tid) or similarly to; "time's timelessness" (tidens tidlBshet). This mystical aspect of time, in the Elegy has hardly been touched upon by any of the c r i t i c s who have 35 written about the poem-. The thematic nexus movement-repose ("rBrelse-vila") which we have found to; he characteristic of EkelBf i s i n fact a typical experience of the mystics: "But the combination movement-repose occupies an entirely different place i n the works of the mystics than that which i s usually devoted to the customary items i n the mystics' l i s t s of God's contr-dictory attributes." (Men sammanstallnirigen rflrelse-vila intar i mystikernas; skrifter ett helt annat rum an det som plagar ges at de vanliga leden i mys-tikernas serier av Guds motsatta attribut.) The Western mystic Heraclitus writes for example (in Diels' German translation of the Fragments): "Sich 50 wandelnd ruht es aus." This same type of mystical coincidentia oppositorum comes to the foreground i n a description which EkelBf adds to his clearly mystical poem "Gymnosofisten" ("The gymnosophist") on a plan for "A MBIna Elegy and 7 Preludes" (folder 'Bverst'): "The gymnosophist: at in f i n i t e speed I move towards the eternally stationary, for I don't move. G. E." (Gymnosofisten: med oandlig hastighet rBr jag mig mot det evigt orBrliga, ty jag rBr mig inte. G. E.) That the idea of the timeless, infiniteeand yet dynamic present or "nunc aeternitatis" i s an integral part of the spiritual experience of the mystics i s evidenced by such remarks as the following one by the Zen patriarch Hui-neng: "The absolute tranquillity i s thes present moment. Though i t i s at this moment, there i s no limit to this moment, and 51 herein i s eternal delight." Ruin writes of this "nunc aeternitatis" and its? dynamic-static ambivalence, an ambivalence or paradoxicalness which of course cannot be grasped intellectually but has to be experienced spiri t u a l l y : "God i s not only eternal movement; he i s also eternal repose. . . . The i n f i n i t e l y dynamic i s also the i n f i n i t e l y static. The mystics speak here of an eternal now, 'nunc aeternitatis,' at whose focal point the past, the / o present and the future meet." (Gud ar icke blott evig rOrelse, han ar ocksa evig v i l a . . . . Den oandliga dynamiken ar t i l l i k a oandlig statik. Mystikerna talar har om: ett evigt nu, "mine aeternitatis", i vars brannpunkt; fBitganget, narvarande och kommande mcVtes.)^ That the experience of time i n the Elegy-was indeed intended to? he analogous to the mystics' "nunc aeternitatis" is? convincingly borne out by an important note in EkelBf s English commentary to an ar t i c l e draft of Leif SjBberg: "in. one moment!' should not be over-stressed. "Time" and-time. What is i t ? It; is? supposed to occur i n a lapse of time? but outside time, i n a mood of: passivity and receptivity towards one's self, when everything and anything i s possible and near by. The ideal psycho-analytical moment. I f the hand of your watch has moved one minute? or ten from the point, when you started summarizing* your? situation, your dreams etc., what matters. It i s a moment a l l the same. . . . even the ideal auto-psycho-analytical moment, which i s , I believe, much the- same as? the moment of "mystical insight" of 53 certain esoterics. . . . Looking at the matter more from the point of view of the formal devices: of poetry, Hans Ruin has demonstrated i n the chapter "Poesiens samlade nu" (Poetry's Collected Present) i n his remarkable book Poesiens mystik (The Mysticism of Poetry) that the concentration on the "now" i s essentially constitutive for a l l poetry, for as he writes i n the afterword to that same book: "Being bound to the moment i s characteristic of l y r i c poetry. . . . The poet listens more and more? closely to that which l i e s accumulated i n a given moment." (Bundenheten vid ett moment ar fBr lyriken. karakteristisk. .-. . Poeten lyssnar a l l t djupare i n i det som ligger uppsamlat i ett givet Bgon-lick.)^'' On the other hand Ruin emphasizes; the fact that this idea of a given moment i s not to be taken too l i t e r a l l y . . I t i s a commonplace that' poetry has i n common with music the fact that both are art forms which, unroll or develop i n time and thus more than other art forms have time as their constitutive element, but i t is one of the virtues of Ruin's book that i t makes; us; aware; off those elements i n poetry which run counter to the dynamic, temporal aspect off poetry and accomplish a synthesis of the discrete moments off a particular poetic progression: those largely rhetorical elements; such as rhyme, assonance; and a l l i t e r a t i o n which; most modern poetry has seen f i t to abandon i n one degree or another but whose unifying^ synthesizing function Ruin has studied under the; heading,"Poetry1s Collected Present": It. would be a fascinating task to examine how poetry's technical means aim at making just such a contact with a unified, continuous spiritual experience possible. . . . Think of rhyme. . . . Rhyme is something present which points forward but also; backward—a l i t t l e fact which mirrors the essence of poetry: the synthesis of past, present and future. 55 But assonance and a l l i t e r a t i o n also move i n the; same direction. Although we- may say that such synthesizing elements as rhyme, al l i t e r a t i o n , assonance and repetition are typical of a l l more traditional forms of poetry and thus help us establish the; individuality or specificity off a particular poem in a very limited degree, i n the case of a modern poet such as EkelBf, who; i n general eschewed such traditional poetic devices, the return to such "outmoded" poetic techniques i n a poem consciously devoted to; the problem of timeQ'A MBIna Elegy / A poem / about time / about the time experience" as i t i s referred to i n a series of notes i n one off the; MBIna manuscripts) (En MBlna-Elegi. / En dikt om tiden / om tidsupplevelsen) has to be seen as significant. The effect of such a consistent use of rhyme, assonance, a l l i t e -ration and repetition as we can observe i n the Elegy would be to bring about just such a sense of the static "eternal" moment as we have identified above— i n contrast to the dynamic aspect which any poem by i t s very essence must have. It i s undeniable that the Elegy with i t s more intentional and syste-matic use of such rhetorical devices occupies a<special position inEkelBf's 58 production, a fact of which the author himself was well aware: "As f a r as the Elegy/ i s concerned, I c l e a r l y see; the r h e t o r i c , the fact that the whole thing-is a r t i f i c i a l and made-up. . . . " (Vad Elegin betraffar ser. jag k l a r t 56 retoriken, det konstlade och gjor.da. i alltsammans. . . The Thematic; Nexus off Death by Water and the Theme of Time; That EmMolna-Elegi. i s : closely related both thematically and genetically to the poems; i n Non serviam becomes evident both from a study off the? two poetry collections i n their: printed versions and from a study of the: manu-cript s ; to 1 the; Elegy. A d r a f t e n t i t l e d "Den drunknande" (The drowning man) (folder: 'c')» f o r example, i s ; c l e a r l y one of the preliminary drafts of the "La:. B r i n v i l l i e r s V section (p. 49) of the "Fire Song!' (Eldsang), beginning as i t does with the lines; "Yes, cast me into; the sea / without a banner, without a cannonball" ( j a , kastaamigr i havet / utan fana, utan kanonkula). Except for: minor variations, however, th i s drafjt contains nearly a l l the l i n e s from the; poem "Pafagelstronen" (The Peacock: Throne), a subdivision of the "Havstema" i n Non serviam. In; a>, note to* his essay on EkelcJf's "Panthoidens sang" (The Song of the; Panthoid) from the-collection "Om hosten" ( i n the Autumn), Reidar Ekner has written of Ekelof's treatment of the theme of death by water, denying i t s immediate relevance f o r that p a r t i c u l a r poem: Ekelof i s able to view the bones off the drowned man which have been washed clean; by-water as an aesthetic object In numerous contexts, f o r example i n the;- suite "Sea Themes" i n Non serviam and i n "Geron-t i o n " i n Excursions. This treatment of the motif of death; by water has become common poetic property a. l a mode and goes back: ( v i a E l i o t ' s The; Waste Land) to A r i e l ' s song i n Shakespeare&s: The Tempest. . . . 5 7 Landgren i n his analysis?oft Ekelof's early poem "kosmisk sBmngangare" (cosmic sleepwalker) has stressed the fact that for Breton and the surrea-lists:; childhood had a privileged position i n their project of a surrealist "jeu desinteresse de la? pensee" and that Breton i n his Manifeste du Surrea-lisme' of? 1929: associated the surrealist's capacity to re-experience his childhood through the surrealist method with the drownings person's recapit-58 ulation of his: entire l i f e a t the point of death.' That i n the case of En; MBlna-Elegi one can also speak off a similar project of a "jeu desinteresse der la-pensee" and of EkelBf s association of such an aesthetic effect with the act of drowning? i s shown byr an important series of notes to the; "Water Song" (BBljesang, pp. 1 1 - 1 3 ) dated MollOsund 10 October 1 9 4 2 : "The Billows Song is: distracted: therefore- don't reject the earlier version. Expand i t rather: introduce the-; drowned man. He drops:, off to sleep. Is transformed. His? thoughts wander." (BBljesangen ar tankspridd, darfBir inte fBrsma tidigare version. Tvartom utvidga: infBra den drunknade* Han nickar t i l l . PBrvand-las. Hans tankar vandrar.) The theme of death by water links, several of the poems of Non serviam, in particular "Bal des petits l i t s blancs," "Pafagelstronen," "HavsfBrvand-ling!* (Sea Change) and "De ilandflutna" (Carcass Jetsam), which comprise the; "Havstema," as well as "Emigranten." As far as the Elegy i s concerned, several c r i t i c s have underlined the importance of EkelBf's participation i n the burial of an English pilot on the west coast of Sweden during the Second 59 World War for the conception of the Elegy/'s lines: a l l of us floating here floating along 0 these carcasses that float that head into the reeds but rock; uncertainly outside (51» 582 -586 ) 4 0 The experience is one?which EkelBf- relates i n his "novell"f(novella) "Fran vastkusten!' (From the West Coaat) i n Promenader och utflykter. In another "novell" from the same collection, "Klockor Over staden" (City Hells?), he recounts another experience of death by drowning, this time a childhood experience from the time when his family was l i v i n g i n Masieholmen i n central Stockholm. A woman, presumably a suicide victim, was fished from the waters off StrBmmen, one of the outlets; of Malar en into the sea?: Another time he jthe protagonist of the autobiographical narrative] had jumped to the window on hearing the ar r i v a l of the guards. . . . Somewhere near the statue of Gustavus I I I there was a gathering; off people up to something peculiar. A bloated bundle was fished out of the current with a grapnel hook—it was a woman who had jumped i n from the Nbrthbridge. She was hauled up with her head downwards, the voluminous laced bloomers shone white against the embankment, the petticoat hung inside out like a big, greyish white b e l l with her head as; its? clapper.^ Here we encounter the motif of the b e l l which EkelBf appears to have associ-ated almost inevitably with the idea o f death by drowning* Just how much Shakespeare's line "Sea nymphs hourly ring;his knell" from the famous Ariel's song may/ have contributed to this association i s hard to say. A line from the Elegy- takes up this thematic nexus and adds to i t the motif off the dream, which, as Fengt Landgren has demonstrated, i s , i n a fashion described by Freud, frequently associated with water or the sea.*^ The line follows the quotation of Swedenborg,' s eight dreams? from his DrBmboken (Dream; Book) and readssin context: Jetsam on the beaches of sleep Dreams l i k e ringing from the depths Oarfish inland-driven Grief's soft leviathans? (41 > 46O-463) Similarly one off the stanzas of "Bal des petits l i t s blancs" reads: Give me the? eyes o f the cuttle-fish the gently/ introverted ones as if. they heard the secret peal of "bells bursting through the depths [my stress"] The; consistency of Ekelofs use of particular personal symbols, images and motifs oven a long span of time during: which his aesthetic views underwent radical revisions? has to make us: concur with his remark: i n a note to SjBberg: "I'm; not! highly sophisticated but; extremely true to, or aware of, my impres-sions; from an early age and always: comparing them with later impressions, 62 superimpos ing themselve s." That death by drowning'; had its ; particular relevance or. fascination for EkelBf during; the period i n the late 3 0 ' s when he conceived the plan for: En MBlna-Elegi and was living: with Knut Jaensson and Tora Dahl on LidingB near MBlna; (the latter being?a frequent destination for his afternoon walks) i s borne out by a note i n his; own annotated copy of the Elegy. Apropos MBlna and the; complex:of?houses there, he-writes: Ernst Rolf had earlier rented part of the; complex as a kind of holiday resort for his China variety show ensemble. He died there of an overdose off sleeping? pills;; perhaps; drunk, i n the; water to the right of the jetty, guarded by a big; f a i t h f u l and rabid dog which hindered a l l rescue attempts, according to rumours after having surprised Tutta [ R o l f s wife]] on the. spot i n flagrante  delicto with a Wallenberg; perhaps; also as a result of self-hate and bad business affairs. I believe i n the poison theory since the; water i s shallow; the bottomed-out person died at the bottom. This i s adiaphora but places; have their destinies; and destinies their places. If theTifsscinatibn of: the "near-death? experience" (SjBberg) for.Ekelbf i s thus obvious?, i t s importance seems? to reside at least i n part in that particular dilation off the "duree interieure" with which it : i s almost always associated; i t i s , to use Ekelof's own words when referring to the conception of time i n the? Elegy, "the? ideal auto-psycho^analytical" moment." According to; Bergson's account of the psychic process which i s activated i n such moments of c r i s i s , our entire past is? conserved i n our unconscious as? long? as. the; exigencies of practical, everyday action force us to suppress i t : Mais s i notre passe nous demeure presque tout entier cache parce qu'il est irihibe par les? necessites de l'action presente, i l retrouvera la; force de franchir le seuil de l a conscience dans tous les? cas ou nous? nous desinteressons de l'action eff icace; pour nous? replacer, en quelque sorte, dans l a vie du reve.^ In the? same passage o f Matiere et memo i r e , Bergson goes on to speak: of near-death experiences and of the? extreme density or plenitude of internal time ("time;which bolts? / years; in minutes?" 1 3 , 7 0 - 7 1) ( t i d som skenar / aratal i mihuten) which they represent: Or c'est un f a i t d'observation banale que 1'"exaltation" de l a memoire dans certains reves et dans; certains etats somnambuliquea* Des souvenirs qu'on croyai't abolis reparaissent alors avec une exactitude^ frappante; nous;; revivons dans; tous leurs? details; des scenes d'enfance entierement oubliees, nous parIons des languea; que nous ne nous souvenions meme pliia d'avoir apprises. Mais rien de plus instructifs, a, cet egard, que ce qui se produit dans certains cas de suffocation brusque, chez les noyes et les pendus. Le sujet, revenu a l a vie, declare avoir vu defiler devant l u i , en peu de temps, tous les evenements; de son histoire, avec leurs plus infimes?cirConstances et dans l'ordre meme ou i l s'etaient produits. The poet ("diktare") at the end of Strindberg's Ett dromspel, a play which undeniably has been, one off the decisive a r t i s t i c impulses behind the conception off En MQlna-Elegi, summarizes the effect of such extreme near-death experiences thus: "I read that when l i f e nears: i t s end everything and everyone rushes-by i n a single defile ..." (Jag laste att nar som l i v e t nalkas slutet, a l l t och a l i a rusa fflrbi i en enda defile ... )^•; Carl; Fehrman in Poesi. och parodi (Poetry and Parody) has applied the term'"livsrevy" ( l i f e -review) to this psychological phenomenon and as a dramatic; exemplification thereof he cites a scene from the same play: What Strindberg with dramatic suggestiveness has given form to i n this'.'.scene i s the psychological phenomenon which goes under the name 'life-review. 1 Moat people have heard of this curious psycho-logical occurrence, which has been confirmed by many observers', that people whose lives are; i n danger see themselves confronted at the point of death with the events; off their lives i n the; form off images li k e in a film i n fast-motion.^ To further illustrate what he calls a "livsrevy," Fehrman cites a passage from Strindberg's Inferno: Have you noticed in moments of solitude, during the; night, or even in broad daylight, how your memories rise from the past, trembling; as though newly resurrected, one by one and two by two? A l l the faults you have committed, a l l the; crimes, a l l the stupid actions, they come and force the blood even to the tips of your ears, they make the sweat burst even from your scalp, they make the shivers course throughtth% length'of your spine. You relive your past l i f e , from your; birth u n t i l the present day; you suffer a l l over again every suffering;,you have ever endured; you drink again a l l the bitter cups you have already drunk so often; you crucify your very skeleton, because there i s no flesh l e f t to mortify; you immolate your soul because your: heart has already been reduced to ashes. Do you know what I anr talking about? Those are. the mills of God that grind so slowly and so exceedingly small^-and black. Interesting to note; here besides the: theme of the "livsrevy" i s Strindberg's; association of the recapitulated and re-experienced past i n a l l i t s infernal aspects with the image of the; m i l l , also a central symbol i n En Mfllna-Elegi. In chapter 5 of The Idiot, Dostoievsky has; Prince Myshkin relate his witnessing of a hanging i n Lyon and give a pregnant description of the last moments or "livsrevy" of the; criminal mounting the scaffold: It's strange that people rarely faint at these last moments. On the contrary, the brain i s extraordinarily l i v e l y and must be working;at a tremendous rate—at a tremendous rate, like a machine at f u l l speed. I fancy that there is; a continual throbbing of ideas oft'all sorts, always^ unfinished and perhaps absurd too, quite irrelevant ideas. . . One need only examine some of the; absurd passages of the Elegy and observe i t s purposefully associative quality i n order to realize the applicability of; Myshkin's description off a "livsrevy" to EkelBf' a; poem with its; conscious attempt to convey the contingency with which our resurrection of. the past i n such moments: of c r i s i s is; coupled. Bergson for his part has emphasized this; "resurrection capricieuse" of the past, this resurgence of memories i n a -purely contingent order, and distinguished i t from the? psychological l i f e which we lead i n daily existence, which i s more objective and governed by the laws of causality in a more; apparent way. In several of the above-mentioned poems from Won serviam which are closely related genetically- and thematically to the Elegy, this motif of death by water predominates, thus i n "Bal des petits l i t s blancs," where we even encounter a "livsrevy": Then the doctor asked the nursemaid who had drowned herself but beem revived by a r t i f i c i a l respiration: What did you hear? What did you see? "It was; so nice and red there!" Well, did you hear anything? "0 yes, they were playin* music, beautiful, music!" One of the drafts to the Elegy's "La B r i n v i l l i e r s " section has several of the lines which have been includeefciin "Bal des petits; l i t s blancs" and "Pafagelstronen" and contains, significantly enough, both the motifs; of underwater music and red light which Ekelof seems to have associated with death by water (the draft i n folder 'a' has.the t i t l e "Be drunknade" [The drowned menJ): "as dead men they are dead / as drowned men they hear music, see red flowers" (som dflda ar: de dflda / som drunknade hor de musik, ser rBda blommor). Another draft entitled "Den drunknande" (The drownings one?) (folder 'c') has. the same association of death by drowning, music and the colour red: "One hears.: music, hears: how the mermaid plays, wonderfully / there i s music, wonderful music / the coral shines red." (Man hor musik, hur sjBjungfrun spelar, underbart / det spelar, det spelar underbart / korallerna lyser rBda). On what i s a general plan for the Elegy under the t i t l e "Calypso:.:/ En Elegi / och X Preludier" (Calypso;/ An Elegy / and X Preludes), EkelBf has written: "In Calypso's sales* [Saloon*] / the red twilight!' ( i Calypsos saleHg* [Saloon*] / den rBda skymningen). Finally, a draft to the "Billows Song" (BBljesang) has the note: "A bygone moment sub rosa" (En gangen. stund sub-rosa). 46 The Topicality of the Elegy; the Elegy as Social-Political Criticism Reidar.' Ekner i n an already cited note to the theme of death by water mentions the three famous lines from.Ariel's song and their transmission through T. S. Eliot as one of the? impulses? "behind EkelBf»s fascination for the theme of death "by water* The? passage: i n EkelBf* s own essay "Gerontion" (Promenader och utflykter) to which Ekner refers i n hia; emphasis on the importance of death "by drowning i n EkelBf s work can he found at the end of the essay, the main theme 6fC which i s EkelBfs discontent during the war years, his "Uribehagen i n der Kultur," his dissatisfaction with the Swedish socio-political structure ("det folkhemska" as he cal l s i t , punning on the Swedish work "hemsk" jghaatlyj and the popular term for Sweden "Polkhemmet" [the People's Home] ) and his: yearning for escape and for purification from the taint of c i v i l i z a t i o n : ;When I die I want to he buried i n the sea as an. act of c l e a n l i -ness, have my muscles gnawed off, my intestines?dissolved, my bones polished, be properly bathed and embalmed i n strong salt solutions to the point of being unrecognizable and annihilated. But the? church, which holds watch over the: old people*s home, w i l j proba-bly forbid that. I t knows what the husks of larvae on the reeds also seem to think and rustle their approval to: that power over the dead i s to a certain degree power over the l i v i n g . What does; the internal revenue service have to say about that? Doesn*t the: 69 federal intelligence agency have any objections? That the; theme of drowning at an early point i n the Elegy's conception (in particular during the war years) was much more closely related to EkelBfs social criticism and to his desire for escape from the fetters of society, especially Swedish society, seems to be; shown by one of the drafts to the "La B r i n v i l l i e r s " section. In words reminiscent of the above; passage from "Gerontion," Ekelof expresses hi;s longing tco become merged; i n the eternal natural cycle and concludes with an attack on the "tutelary society" (fBrmyndarsamhalle) Sweden: "I shall do my best to die i n a country / where the state churchi doesn't stuff me into i t s bag." (Nog skall jag dra fBrsorg om att dfl i ett land / dar inte statskyrkan stoppar mig i sin pase.) The draft continues: " I t i s to drown I want—not be drowned, / according to paragraphs and regulations." (Det ar drunkna jag v i l l — i n t e drankas, / enligt fOrordnihgar och paragrafer.) I t i s significant that both the passage from "Gerontion" and certain lines i n the Elegy associate this desire for escape from the constraints of society, which are1 experienced as painful and alienating, with an identification off the author; with sub-human forms oft" l i f e or "the subhuman" (det nedanfBrmanskliga) as EkelBf calls i t with a term- apparently borrowed from Gustaf PrBding and his "NedanfBrman-skliga visor" (Subhuman Songs). In a note to lines 1 4 - 1 5 of MBlna i n his; own annotated copy of the poem, EkelBf has written: "My loathing:and f a s c i -nation for the subhuman, the insect-like." (Min avsky fBr och fascination av det nedanfBrmanskliga ihsektslika.) Iff the; identification with lower forms of l i f e , be they organic or inorganic, has; a p o l i t i c a l - s o c i a l dimension as indicated above, i t also possesses a more generally human aspect: the isolation i n the ego i s experienced as a painful enslavement and the identi-fication with unconscious forms; of l i f e provides a necessary outlet, for as EkelBf exclaims i n the poem"! den unga sjudande huvudstaden" (in the Young Seething Capital) i n Farjesang, a poem which can be viewed as a social-p o l i t i c a l polemic* Give me the worthless that which has served i t s time1 and can return to its; source that which has served;enough tee be ennobled by oblivion and neglect! Happy things which" can be themselves, crumble and rust i n peace! I feel for them* In a similar way Gottfried Benn can write in his poem "Gesange": 0 dass wir unsere Urahnen waren. Eih Klumpchen SchTeim i n einem warmen Moor. Leben und Tod, Befruchten und Gebaren g l i t t e aus unseren stummen Saften vor. Ein Algenblatt oder eih Dunenhugel, vom Wind Gef ormtes? und nacfr unten- schwer. Schon ein Libellenkopf, eih MbwenfMgel 70 ware zu welt und l i t t e schon zu sehr. The various MBIna? manuscripts and notes?validate Sverker Ek's observa?-tion that while the work i n i t s ? f i r s t stages?may have been more topical and contained references? to the histor i c a l situation off World War I I , over the? 23 years of i t s conception EkelBf came to eliminate many of the traces of such references, thus lending the work a more general val i d i t y j If i t was pertinent i n 1946 to stress the? temporal connection with the darkest period of World War I I when the? Nazi troops occupied Europe, i t seems that i n the long course of the poem's conception i t became more v i t a l to underline the timeless and 71 universal aspect of the work.'s absurd view of l i f e . Several, off EkelBf s notes and drafts? to the work do indeed indicate how closely En MBlna-Elegi i n i t s beginnings? was related to the war and to EkelBff's marked distaste for. the Nazi's: "A MBIna Elegy / a liffe-mood / a poem about time / about the time experience / about time experience / from MBIna. / a year / during the period / of the great wars?." (?En MBIna-Elegi / em levnadss tamning / en dikt / om tiden / om tidsupplevelsen / om tidsupplevelse / fram Molna hor. / ett ar / i de stora krigens tid.) A draft to? the "Marche: funebre" section (pp. 53-54)» one of the: earlier sections to he printed ( i n the journal Ars i n 1949) 3 1 1 ( 1 that section which perhaps reflects most closely the poem's original connection with the years; of the blockade, containing as I t does; the; line; from Rimbaud "et maintenant le diable est au clocher" (och nu ar djavulen i klocktornet) (53, 618) which was intended to be an allusion to Hitler, has; the subheading or stage direc-tion "followed by a hate-chorus" ( f o l j d am ett hatkor) and the following; vehement: attacks on the Nazism Pigs; of Germans! And whiplash and whiplash on whip-lash. Now the Poles; are coming. Let thenr take care off thenu Good! Good! 73 Let us; exterminate them i n ourselves . . . A marginal note to this same draft reads: "The time of hate. Ultimo 33«" (Hatets tider. Ultimo 33») A general plan for the work has a similar indica-tion off the poem's original more pronounced' connection with Ekelof s hatred for the Nazis: " P o l i t i c a l l y : block, [-ade] Hatred off the G. jj3ermansT[ etc." (P o l i t i s k t : avsparrn. Q-ingJJ T. [Tysk-]J hat etc.)^" Perhaps the only real trace of this vehement attitude towards the Nazis i n the:1 f i n a l version off the poem i s i n the lines: "0 willows on the banks, G Babylon! / Happy he who taketh thy l i t t l e ones / and dasheth them against the stones!" (0 pil'trad pa stranden, o Babylon! / Sail den som ffihge gripa dina-. spada barn / och krossai. dem: mot klippan!) (54, 642-644) 50 Fiographical Background to the Elegy's? Genesis Given the limited amount of relevant material and the lack: of direct, specific commentaries from the author himself, one: can only speculate as to why the Elegy was work: i n progress; for so long. This delay i s hardly understandable unless one assumes that the poet for one reason or another was. not satisfied with the poem as i t stood. A few passages from EkelBf s letters may help illuminate; at least the; psychological background to the work's conception. They furnish evidence of EkelBfs; continual struggle with a recalcitrant poetic conception. A letter dated 20 October 1941 from Bonniers to EkelBf indicates that a. contract for the publication of En MBlna-75 Elegi was already at this early date under discussion. On January 10, 1945» EkelBf wrote to his publishers Bonniers: "The MBIna Elegy has turned out leading:me along such long and arduous paths that I don't want to5 force i t , especially since I see i n i t a kind of magnum opus." ('MBlna-Elegien' har visat sig fBra sa langt och sa svara. vagar framat att jag inte v i l l forcera 76 den, i synnerhet som jag i den ser ett slags?huvudverk.) Already i n 1948 EkelBf can' make the premature claim i n a letter to his publisher Kaj Bonnier that the Elegy i s largely finished and ready for publication: 1 only wanted to write you, whom I haven't seen for a while, a few lines about my book, which i s 5/6 of the way finished. You perhaps remember that I called a month or so ago and inquired about whether there was a possibility of getting i t published this autumn. Of course I was the one who had to disappoint— but that i s not surprising* for the Elegy i s such a d i f f i c u l t piece of work that i t has taken me ten years, i n stages to be 77 sure but nonetheless. In several letters from roughly the same period EkelBf speaks of "stealing time for MBIna" and laments the'.-distractions which diverted!? hip from concentrated work on the poem: As: matters now stand, with my criticism i n BIM and other addi-tional! commitments, I get perhaps one to two days' time aumonth to devote to the? MBIna1 Elegy etc. etc. and the result i s piece-meal. I would for once li k e to he able to do something complete. EkelBf's correspondence maintains an,almost total silence on the subject off En MBlna-Elegi u n t i l the late 50's when work on the poem, as- is evidenced by/ the 1956 publication of further fragments ("Mbtivets aterkomst" [Repeat of the Motif] and a continuation off the "Kvarnsang " or " M i l l Song": see b i b l i o -graphy) i n the journal Ord och B l l d (Words and Images), was; once again taken up: i n f u l l force. Once more i n a letter of 1956 to Dr. Lennart Josephson (of the above-mentioned journal), EkelBf can lay claim to being close to comple-tion of the work: "P.S. The Elegy, which i s finished except for the finishing touches, w i l l appear i n 1957 (God .willing)." [PS. Elegih som air fardig fran-79 sett finslipningen utkommer 1957 ( v i l l Gud) .J 7 Self-doubts, however, mark EkelBf s attitude towards the work: as late as i n 1958» that i s only two years; before the poem's publication by Bonniers: "It would be good iff the book came out at the beginning of autumn so that there; would be room i n i t for MBIna iff I'm: successful with i t . " (Det vore bra- om boken kom i bBrjan pa hBsten sat 80 att platS: finns fBr MBIna om jag lyckas med den.) According to Par HellstrBm's reconstruction off EkelBf's l i f e during the late 50's, the year 1958 was an unusually unproductive year i n the l i f e of 81 an otherwise almost consistently productive writer. The f i r s t part off 1959 was marked by a long period of convalescence following a toe operation which had proved to be unusually d i f f i c u l t and by ulcers. On 7 May of that year, EkelBf wrote i n his notebook AC: "Arranged the MBIna papers and shall soon plunge^ into that p i l e . " (Ordnat MBlnapapperen och dyker val snart ner i den-hBgen.) An important entry from the same notebook AC (1959-61) gives an aperou of Ekelof s struggle with the structure and unity of the Elegy and of his; continual self-doubts with regard to the work: I can't be: bothered or rather don't want to turn to the previous entry to see how old i t i s , but I have the feeling? that a good deal has taken place since then, So: my ulcer larger despite an 8 weeks' diet* o • • However: worked and'thought about the Elegy. It looks promising and' I have a moderate lucidity and overview vis-^a-vis earlier r e v i -sions. It w i l l perhaps be finished, even though the connecting: part i s just as obscure or almost as obscure as: before. In order to avoid the shortsightedness which easily befalls one when one works with a text, not an occasional poem, I drove today, to: Kolmarden and Nun's. . e • As far as the: Elegy i s concerned, I clearly see the rhetoric, the a r t i f i c i a l and made-up quality of the whole thing; but I think that i t nonetheless can become a ki'nd: of structure, i f only of a f i c t i o n * a l character. But has a long poem with more or less cohesion ever been without the fictional' element, the make-believe, the fabricated element, the cement which holds together the episodes? The only ? thing; that can make up for this evasion i s an enormous: strictness of form, cf. Dante-, cf. the hexameter. I don't mean by that that the terza rima or the hexameter rhythm are? i n themselves: strictness; of form but they are bearers off i t . Strictness of form i s on a d i f f e -rent level; i t is?that that I'm after, with other means. Then the episodes w i l l have- to speak:for themselves* But I'm; sceptical about the whole thing. Ho one can succeed u n t i l after the fact. And i t i s only a l l too plausible that the whole thing w i l l f a l l f l a t , that the a i r w i l l escape, as from Romanticism's epics* . . . Ekelofs notebook entry i s significant i n that i t furnishes evidence of his struggle to combine the fragmentary-episodic-associative "open-form" aspect of the poem with the aesthetic need for; structure and unity; i t i s represen-tative of what Ek: calls "the problem which l i e s i n being fa i t h f u l both' to the varying aspects of the content and to the aesthetic demand for structure" (den problematik som hestar i att pa en gang vara; trogen mot stoffets mang-82 skiftande egenskaper och den estetiska nodvandigheten t i l l strukturering)• Characteristic of many-poets working for the f i r s t time with an open struc-ture hut nonetheless s t i l l under the domination of the traditional aesthetic concept of "organic?unity" i s , as Ekbert Paas has pointed out with respect to T. S. El i o t and his: The Waste Land, an attitude of estrangement and dismay with regard to their own?work, fruitless efforts to accommodate the aspects of an episodic form to the traditional demand for unity. T. S. Eliot's retro spective disavowal of his own The Waste Land, his rejection of i t as? being; "structureless" and his vain efforts after the fact to? emphasize i n a rather a r t i f i c i a l way the unity of his open-form poem by insisting on Tiresias; as 83 the focal point of the poem's episodes i s but one example. Various letters from the years?1959-1960 furnish an insight into EkelBf f i n a l struggle with the Elegy. On August 22, 1959» Ingrid EkelBf wrote to; EkelBfs aunt Hanna von Hedenberg: The summer has been very d i f f i c u l t for Gunnar. He was to f i n i s h a big poetry collection, perhaps his biggest (the•MBlna Elegy), which he; has. been working? on for 20 years but always tripped over. During the last few months? now, drinking; brooding and unhappy, he> has tried. He has read enormously; worked and worked, several strange poems? have come about, but nothing finished. He hasn.lt gone out, scarcely down the stairs-, only sat up i n the a t t i c . And his problems are of such a nature that I can never leave the house.^ The spring and summer of: 196O i s marked! by concentrated work on the Elegy. Ingrid EkelBf wrote^ to EkelBf s mother i n May of that year: "Gunnar has? begun to get absorbed i n the summer's work on the MBlna-Elegy and feels quite sure of succeeding so that i t can come out i n the autumn. But i t 54 w i l l be an ordeal." (Gunnar bBrjar fBrdjupa aig i sommarens: arbete; pa Molnav-Elegin och kanner sig ganska saker pa att lyckas~ sasatt den kommer ut i hBst.) In an undated le t t e r , presumably from the summer of 196®, Ingrid Ekelbf wrote to Hanna von Hedenberg: "Yesterday Gunnar drove into the Karolinska [hospitalj for a short rest. He was very worn out but work on the MBIna Elegy has: come; a long way and we have good hopes that i t w i l l be finished this: summer." (Gunnar akte i gar i n pa Karolinska fBr en kortare tids v i l a . Han var mycket nergangen men arbetet pa MBlna-Elegien har kommit langt och v i har mycket gott hopp att den-skall b l i fardig i sommar.)^ After a prematurely interrupted stay at a "torp" or crofter's holding near Gnesta, where EkelBf had planned to fin i s h work on the Elegy, Ingrid EkelBf can; report i n a letter to the author's mother dated! 28 August: "Gunnar was very happy to be home and today he wrote out the last of MBIna. He i s so; happy/ that he's almost crying!" (Gunnar var stornBjd Bver att vara hemma och i dag har han s k r i v i t ut det sista pa MBIna. Han ar sai glad att nan nastan g r a t e r ! ) ^ In almost the same terms Ingrid EkelBf communicates: EkelBf's satisfaction at the completion of the Elegy i n a letter of the same date to Prida Flodquist: "In any case Gunnar couldn't rest. He was happy when we were home again and today he wrote out the last of the MBIna Elegy. He was so happy that he almost cried, and now he i s sleeping." (I a l i a handelser hade Gunnar ihgen ro. Han var l y c k l i g nar v i val var hemma igen och i dag har han s k r i v i t ut det s i s t a pa MBlna-Elegien! Han.var sa glad att han o 88 nastan grater, och nu sover han.) A letter of a fewitweekstbefore the above triumphant occurrence, a letter from EkelBf to Gerard Bonnier, indicates how the poet toiled with the work u n t i l the very last moment and nurtured contin-ual self-doubts; i t i s dated 16 August 1 9 6 0 , that i s only a month or so before the o f f i c i a l appearance of the Elegy i n Swedish bookshops: Well, now I'm at; the point where I don't know i f I ' l l have the MBlna Elegy ready i n time for the season. That's ridiculous;, since three of the sheets: are: composed^ the cliches; are being worked on and I have; the two remaining•sheets practically ready. Only a hyphen i s lacking as i t were. But i n this case—23 years; of work: now—-I'm; a perfectionist and can't ask: anyone for help. The fact i s that for the moment I feel t o t a l l y overworked, that i s to say i n such a; way that I would rather do something else, for example; write-a prose piece. When one works with poetry for a long time, especially-with such a thing;as this, somehow, one becomes shortsighted' and that arouses distaste and leads to , .. 89 depression. The Aesthetics; of the; Incomplete: The Work: Process as; Telos During the years immediately preceding the publication of the Elegy, the expectations; of Swedish readers with respect to: the; poem were constantly being b u i l t up by the Swedish news media and Swedish c r i t i c s and every autumn, the traditional time i n Sweden for the issue of major new book publications;, there were indications; that En MBlna-Elegi was f i n a l l y to appear i n print. Under such circumstances i t i s highly probable that EkelBf must have f e l t some pressure to complete the work. At the; same time, however, i t i s unde-niable that the insistence on the finished product, on the "completed" l i t e r -ary form, i s an element which is; conspicuously lacking; i n EkelBf s aesthetics; i h general. Carl Fehrman has studied the importance of the aesthetics; of the incomplete i n Valery and maintains that foir Valery the publication of a work was not a significant stage i n the creative process but; rather a merely f i c t i -90 tious and altogether arbitrary "balancing of the books."y One could easily apply the theme of "Samothrate,,- to the aesthetics of both Valery and Ekelbff and maintain that for both the interest of the creative process lay not so much in the end result as i n the struggle i t s e l f , for the arti s t learns and develops not through an illusory completion off the work but rather through the never-ending t o i l with?the li t e r a r y form i t s e l f . Valery can write, characteristically enough: "Un poeme n'est jamais acheve— a 1 est toujours un accident qui le termihe, c'est-a-dire qui le donne; au public. Ce sont * / ^ 9 1 l a lassitude, la. demande de l'editeur, l a pouseee d'un autre poeme." Hans; Ruin has emphasized the fact that for the mystics with their awareness- of l i f e as an Heraclitean flux and of man's fundamental incompleteness there were two possibilities open to them when they were confronted with that contradiction which lies: i n trying to; seize the. inexorable flow of l i f e i n an image, there-by-falsifying the movement: on the one hand silence (the alternative favoured by Hofmannsthal i n his famous "Lord Chandos!' l e t t e r ) , on the other hand "to; create something to which the finished and the complete i s alien" (att skapa nagonting, fflr vilket det avslutade och fullandade ar frammande). From another perspective Par Hellstrflm has examined the significance of the i n f l u -ence of Oriental and particularly/ Taoist thought on the formation of this aesthetics of the incomplete. In this context he cites Osvald Siren's charac-terization of this aspect of Chinese aesthetics: For them £the Chinese and Japanese] the beauty of art did not consist i n the finished, the; complete and symmetrical but rather in the irregular and unfinished (i. e . the suggestive), which con-tained the possibility off growth and movement. Nothing was avoided more painstakingly i n art—both during i t s creation and its; exhibi-tion—than repetition and repletion. . . . This i s off course i n complete opposition to our striving for uniformity and symmetrical 93 conclusion, our inclination for repetition. Bengt Landgren concludes with respect to the "Djavulspredikan" (The Devil's Sermon) i n EkelOf's Vagvlsare t i l l underjorden (A Guide to the; Underworld): 57 EkelBf uses the; sexual relationship between man and woman as a symbolic image of the arti s t ' s relationship- to the work of art: the lovers are two "creators," two artists who prefer the frag-94 ment, the suggestion to the complete, the perfect work. ^ Given his continual awareness of l i f e as flux and his corresponding refusal of any categorical system, dogma, institution or ideology ("I can't be bothered with vows:, dogmas* grace, creeds, covenants and atonement and forgiveness and whatever else they are called." [PBr IBften, dogmer, nad, bekannelser, fflrbund och fBrsoningoch fBrlatelse och a l l t vad det kallas har jag ingenting t i l l Bvers.]^), be i t of a religious, p o l i t i c a l or =-'•. aesthetic nature, i t seems only logical that EkelBf should have elaborated such an aesthetics of the incomplete. This refusal of the static becomes evident i n a commentary i n the author's Kladdbok 2 (Draft-book 2) dealing with the - 18th century's belief i n reason arid i t s evolutionary optimism: Then [ i n the period of the Enlightenment] there was namely a desire for a stationary world, a fixed point to stand on and with the support of which one would be able to transform the world. This fixed point i s a human i l l u s i o n which may appear v i t a l l y necessary but which HeraclitusBand others have, as i s well-known, rejected. It appears i n Marxism's patent solutions of the social problems of 96 surplus value. It can be found i n many work hypotheses. Similarly, i n a note from the early 30's in the capsule 'Tidiga manuskript,' EkelBf writes: The f i c t i v e value judgments have become so universally prevalent that no one knows any longer what truth i s . A l l value judgments are f i c t i v e and a l l judgments are value judgments, even the scien-t i f i c ones, since they always leave room for the arbitrary. There i s nothing certain, no fixed point to stand on—everything flows and changes. . . . 58 The most direct and detailed theoretical formulation of this aspect of EkelBfs aesthetics as far as i t relates in particular to the work process and the notion of the^ published, "completed" work is? to? be found i n a commen-tary to? En natt vid horisonten (A Night on the Horizon) (capsule "Sent pa jorden':'arbetspapper' [work papers]), which because of i t s importance deserves to be cited i n extenso: I t is? also-known to me that this book, my f i r s t , at the-same time that i t gains i n fullness also reassumes i t s original unfinished character. The purely technical conditions for the publication, the printing off poetry cause one, force one, entice one to draw a r t i f i c i a l , boundaries, to present a poetry collection as an achieved result, a conquered point of view. But i n poetic art everything i s unfinished and incommensurable as i n l i f e . One can't say: I'm happier now, I was unhappier theni •^Something which doesn't lose i n being less clear, a "poetry  collection" as i f i t were a finished unity. Even the individual poem i s a monument which often, to ^ f u l f i l l the literary conventions, i s supplied with feet of clay in the form of halting rhyme and other "Erganzungen," just like the statues i n the Vatican. And i t does not redound to the work's merit that i t i s the writer, the a r t i s t himself who has restored i t , in such a way that even the restorations can boast of being "authentic." The writer, iff anyone, ought to leave unfinished that which i s unfi'«-nished. He can be excused because of the-fact that he hasn't been allowed to do so by the public-the buyer. But he i s to a certain extent responsible for the fact that the readers have been imbued with and have further developed this f i c t i o n : The finished, self-sufficient work- of art. Such a f i c t i o n belongs to a certain imma-ture phase of culture. The savage produces the^essential and neglects=leaves up to the spectator's fantasy that which i n his [the savageis] vision was unessential or immature. The really great cultures and art epochs have done the same, for example the Eastern ones. In After Babel George Steiner has defined four p r i n c i p a l stages i n the act of translation ( i n the broad sense i n which he understands the term: a l l interpretive^ acts; a l l acts of perception are forms of "tr a n s l a t i o n " ) . The f i r s t stage of th i s "hermeneutic motion," as Steiner c a l l s i t , i s thatb o f an investment of f a i t h i n the object of our translation, a leap of f a i t h which i s jeopardized', as he? claims, by such non-signifying-literary forms 97 as nonsense verse. Part o f t h i s i n i t i a l act o f f a i t h which conditions the entire subsequent interpretive process i s based, I would assert, on the untried assumption that the text confronting us i s the d e f i n i t i v e one. Such an investment of b e l i e f i s thus at least i n part endangered by that entire aesthetics of the incomplete, of the non-definitive, which one must perceive i n Ekelof. That t h i s view of things would apply i n a pa r t i c u l a r degree to? En MBlna-Elegi with i t s only gradual genesis i s , I think', substantiated' by two commentaries i n EkelBf 1s own hand. In a l e t t e r datedi 21 September 1 9 6 0 , that i s o n l y about s i x weeks before the o f f i c i a l issue of the poem i n .book" form; EkelBf wrote to Gerard Bonnier: The Elegy i s a s - i t could be under the circumstances: heavily s t r a t i -f i e d (since 23 years?' work l i e behind i t ) , nonetheless u n i f i e d . Had I finished i t ten years ago, i t would have been d i f f e r e n t ; i f I have the opportunity to revise i t i n ten years, i t w i l l end up being d i f f e r e n t . Conceivably I would then go back: to the e a r l i e r o r i g i n a l sketches. The idea of a " f i c t i t i o u s balancing of the books" which marks both Valery's and E k e l B f s attitude towards the "finished," published work (En natt v i d hprisonten, "Synopsis?":"For only the A r t i s t / can give i t a l l i t s f i c t i v e conclusion by means o f a signal f o r departure:. . ." [Ty endast Kbnstnaren / kan ge det hela? dess f i k t i v a Slut / genom ett utbrottstecken: . . . " ] ) has i t s special relevance for the Elegy with i t s long: genesis: 1937* The very f i r s t draft was 3 lines of which the; last one ran "my ten-thousandth sunset." . . . After that the Elegy has; grown uninterruptedly and i s s t i l l growing. This [the i960 published version of the poem] cam be seen as a necessary but temporary balancing of accounts; in order to gain a clear picture of the situation [.J ^ The Aesthetics of the Indistinct and the Active Reader Role While even a superficial examination of some of EkelBf's manuscripts; and drafts; to En; MBlna-Elegi would confirm one's scepticism with regard to relevance or applicability of the idea of an organic development of the poem from some kind off nucleus or matrix, the problem of tracing the genesis off the work i s further complicated by the largely associative character of the poem and by what one: could refer to as EkelBfs; aesthetics of indistinctness, an aesthetics which he: was consciously trying to apply i n the Elegy. A note to a draft of the "BBljesang" (folder 'c') stresses the author's conscious attempt to give the reader the i l l u s i o n of participating i n the more or less random associations of the poem's l y r i c a l " I " (jag): "Distracted, timeless his train off thought follows accidental lines of association / his thoughts come; and go." (Tankspridd, tidlfls f S l j e r hans tanke-fBlje t i l l f M l l i g a asso-ciationslinjer / hans tankar kommer och gar.) In another similar note EkelBf again stresses his Intention to give the impression of a "compositionless" composition, off a more associative than logical poem: "Think off Beeth. quartets. Voces intimae. / No plot. No composition / only melos / write this as blind o. deaf i n / any case as amputated for ex. without the world / . . . Begin at one-point, low, / and create an atmosphere. ..." (Tanka pa Beeth. kvartetter. Voces intimae. / Ingen handli.. vlngen komposition / endast melos:/ skriva detta som blind 1. dBv i / vart f a l l som amput. t. ex. utan varlden / . . . BBrja pa en punkt, lagt, / och skapa en atmosfar. • . . ) ' u u There seems to he a contradiction between EkelBfs insistence on the i l l u s i o n of associativeness and the ethics of a r t i s t i c craftsmanship which we have come to identify with him, but, as Bengt Landgren has astutely pointed out, EkelBf s; aesthetic attitude can best be characterized by the term balance or equilibrium. In his discussion of EkelBf s attitude towards the surrea-l i s t s and the Swede's retrospective refusal of their emphasis on formless-ness, Landgren cites a statement from the poet's essay "En Sterblick" (Looking Back) which demonstrates just such a desire for balance: "By rhyming alone one; does not make poetry, no more than by switching off a l l formal endeavour and a l l conscious control." (Enbart pa rim gBr man ingen poesi, l i k a l i t e t som pa att avkoppla a l l formstravan och a l l medveten k o n t r o l l . ) ^ Landgren has, I think, perceived an essential element of EkelBfs aesthetics, both as they manifest themselves; in theoretical comments and i n the actual execution of poetry. The idea of balance helps us further to accept some of the appar-ent contradictions at work i n En MBlna-Elegi, a poem which i s at one and the same time highly rhetorical and associative i n intent, i n a word a kind of structured structurelessness. I t i s important to note that Hans Ruin i n Poesiens mystik has emphasized the fact that the contradiction between the: poet's a b i l i t y to hypnotize the reader, to create a poetry of" suggestiveness, and his; application of an ethics of, conscious: craftsmanship is: only apparent: There i s usually a directly somniferous element i n poetry. The poet has i n many respects the; characteristics of a hypnotizer who with certain tricks understands how to put us into a kind of dormancy. That i s a fact i n the presence of which the seemingly ^insurmountable; contradiction disappears which seems to exist between what Valery claims i n the poem above and what he advocates elsewhere, namely that the art of poetry demands the utmost i n alertness and awareness from i t s practitioner.; As.-aapraetitioher, 62 as. a hypnotizer, the poet must be? alert i n a high degree and i n possession of an indomitable w i l l , but at the same time? he has to be acquainted with that state which he wants to induce i n the; reader, i.e. he has to have experienced himself the bl i s s of 102 indifference at poetry's bosom. In hi's?i "Anteckningar t i l l En Molna-Elegi," EkelfJf speaks of the "associ-ations' (meaningfulior meaningless and without a propos)" [associationer (meningsfulla e l l e r meningslBsa och utan a propos)] which he has incorporated into the poem and i n refutation of the classical "Cartesian" statement of Tegner "The? obscurely said i s the obscurely conceived" (Det dunkelt sagda ar det dunkelt tankta) he insists on the right of the indistinct to retain i t s indistinctness: the poem's speaker ought toi summarize, make distinctly audible what i s said i n me: so "distinct"-*that even the obscurely and vaguely f e l t can remain obscure and vague as i t i s , as long as i t i s . Clarity, objectivity consist not i n presenting the evident as i f i t were self-evident and unproblematic, but rather i n giving the obscure, progressive path towards c l a r i t y . EkelBf s formula here i s reminiscent of Rimbaud's attempt to define the pro-ject of the "poete-voyant" i n his famous "Lettre du voyant" of 15 May 1871s " s i ce qu'il [the poet-seer] rapporte de la-has a forme, i l donne forme; s i c'est informe, i l donne de l'infbrme." In this same context of" the aesthetics of the indistinct, one can cdi-te an important note i n Ekelof's notebook Y: "Emphasize the poet as 1 a philosopher 2 religious 3 a musician. Modern poetry"s similarity to? music: i t doesn't give the thoughts[,?]the; reasons, but the background to the birth.of a thought." (Betona^ diktaren som 1 fi l o s o f 2 rel'igiflss 3 musiker. Den mod. diktens likhet med musik: den ger inte tankarnaj",?"jresonen, men bakgrunden t i l l en tankefBdelse.) This 63 notion that the modem: poem should he representative not of the thoughts themselves or of the results of the thinking process but rather of the; thinking process i t s e l f , of the birth of thoughts i n a l l its:, apparent random-ness or contingency, i s again reminiscent of Rimbaud, i n particular of his statement i n the "Lettre du voyant": "Cela m'est evident: j'assiste a l'eclo-sion de ma pensee: je l a regarde, je l'ecoute: ..." It i s a similar defence of consciously achieved associativeness or? of the "charm of the indistinct" which we encounter i n EkelBf's characterization of Edith SBder-gran' s poem "Den speglande brunnen" (The Mirroring Well): Those who want poetry tbShave a certain mission and deliver i t i n a concise and unambiguous; language so that they don't have to; be l e f t i n uncertainty usually feel unpleasantly affected or at least hesitant i n the face of this type of poetry. . . . SBdergran's poetry is; associative and i t has to be read associatively; other-wise i t doesn't reveal any of i t s mystery. I t w i l l never reveal i t s innermost mystery,; i n that respect i t i s a; faded letter whose enigma i t a; owner "has taken with:-her into the grave. But i s the aim of poetry really that i t should say more of the ineffable than 106 just that i t i s the ineffable? In the same article which EkelBf devotes; to a. discussion of SBdergran1s poem, he identifies the associative character of her:' poetry with, the idea: of a "levnadsstamning" (roughly/ life-mood), thus employing a term from the; Swedish poet Vilhelm Ekelund, one- of the forerunners of Swedish modernism and an a r t i s t and thinker admired by both Edith SBdergran and Gunnar EkelBf: Nevertheless this poem has an important and very precise mission. It wants to present a life-mood. . . .. not the results and derivatives of the life-mood expressed! i n clara verba, but rather the life-mood i t s e l f . And as i n l i f e thought gives birth to feeling and feeling to; thought and capricious associations g l i t t e r on the surface of memory's more peaceful stream with i t s depths of resignation and 107 knowledge of fate;, thus i t happens also i n this poem. 64 Irra? somewhat similar way EkelBf writes of Eliot's The Waste Land as being a kind off "life-mood^!" defending i t against the? analyses and dissections; of the c r i t i c s : One has; done* one's best to destroy this great poetic panorama—I am speaking not only of The-- Waste Land but just as much of the many poems before and after—by dissecting i t and by attempting to locate a l l the hidden quotes and allusions* of which a good deal may very well be unconscious* at least at the moment of inspiration. One ought to^ read i t as a life-mood, a l i f e - f r i e z e . It i s always; the puzzle which i s . . , 108 original. . . . The importance of the notion of a "levnadsstamning" for? the conception of the Elegy i s indicated by one? of the plans to the poem (folder ' j ' ) , which shows that the work: was also intended to be a kind of "levnadsstamning": "A dream-elegy / A life-mood" (En drBm-elegi / En levnadsstamning). A proof-sheet dated 9 June 1960 also indicates that EkelBf even at the f i n a l stages off the poem's conception considered using "A life-mood" (En levnadsstamning) as a subtitle to the work instead of the term- "Metamorphoses" (Metamorfoser) which he f i n a l l y opted for. There i s a letter of 1933 from the Finno-Swedish poet Rabbe Enckell to Gunnar EkelBf where the former point's to the limitations and dangers; of the latter"s? associative form-of poetry; the term "the charm: off the indistinct" as applied to; this type off impressionistic-associative poetry seems: to have been EkelBf* s own: Your method of l e t t i n g the new images "explode beside; each other i n carefully weighed doses," doesn't seem to me to pay sufficient attention to; the principle of concentration. It easily happens that the images don't explode due to the fact that they eliminate each other. In order that a poem; have an effect, i t i s necessary that one observe a certain economy- i n the use of one's resources. The charm of the indistinct i s hidden behind every image which is put forward with energy and art; an excess of images easily leads to a situation where the ideas and associations; which the images ought to arouse flail to appear, because the innumerable images; prevent the individual images from taking effect just as a herd of cattle which has been crowded together hinders the individual animals i n their freedom of movement. I t i s not enough that the poem should have a musical line, plastic graphic-ness. And graphieness; cannot be attained otherwise than through an extremely calculated use of one's means—I for my part believe that this i s best attained through restraint and a carefully calculated heightening? of expression—this restraint produces i n addition "the charm of the indistinct" which you have so correctly observed that a poem ought; to have i f i t i s to^be effective and truly poetic. The principle of indistinctness has of course already been observed by the Chinese and I recall that Goethe also emphasized it.^°^ Ekelof'S3 emphasis on the indistinct also becomes apparent i n a statement such as the following (from his Cahier I of 1 9 3 0 ) : " A l l of literature's masters; have written nonchalantly and a b i t thoughtlessly. . . . A l l the best i s written i n a holiday mood, i n a break. ..." (Alia litteraturens mastare' ha s k r i v i t nonchalant och en smula tanklOst. . . . A l l t det bftsta ar skrivet i ! feriestamning, i . en arbetspaus. . . . )^° Related to Ekelof's; project of an associative poetry based on the "charm of the indistinct" i s his view that the distinguishing mark: of Swedish poetry (Bellman) and of Swedish literature i n general i s i t s impressionism: What makes i t possible to name the names C. and P. [Cederborgh and Froding?] i n practically the same breath (and i n the background Hj. S. [Hjalmar Sflderbergj) is: that both have am a r t i s t i c singular-i t y which one:; would li k e to c a l l especially? Swedish: the capacity to c a l l forth an overall mood via details. This i s conspicuous 111 both m C. and F. lo-i n another commentary (capsule 'OP' 'Opublicerad Forsoksprosa' [unpublished Experimental Prose]) dealing with the Swedish impressionism o f Bellman-and Strindberg, EkelBf defends—in virtue of the "charm of the i n d i s t i n c t " — the writings of-his two great compatriots against the charge of being incoherent and l a c k i n g i n "organic unity": Almost a l l off our: important writers have been impressionists when they were at the i r best. Sometimes they have been c a l l e d r e a l i s t s . Of course neither of these labels says enough, but that they; were impressionists comes closest to the truth. They have worked with a kind of abbreviation of r e a l i t y which i n f a c t has involved an enlargement of r e a l i t y , an attempt to see the surreal v i a d e t a i l s . In The Red Room i t i s n ' t Falk or the L i l l -Jans c i r c l e which are the main characters but rather the count-less many, society, the Zeitgeist with i t s : occasional well-being or more frequently i t s unhappiness. To c r i t i c i z e Strindberg because Falk doesn't hang together as a character i s therefore i n a deeper sense just as; u n j u s t i f i e d as to c r i t i c i z e Bellman because Fredman, U l l a , Movitz or Mollberg don't hang together. U l l a ' s face i s seldom or never depicted, whereas her " f a c i a l expressions," clothes, movements, randy or graceful, the atmosphere surrounding" her are. In t h i s way the figures become many U l l a s , Fredmen, Movitzes, and i t i s wrong to claim that c o l l e c t i v e poetry i s some-thing new i n our country. But the same figures also become every-body's U l l a , Predman orolbvitz so that i t would be just as wrong to; claim that no provision has been made f o r individualism. This 1 impressionistic way of w r i t i n g poetry, t h i s g l i d i n g between the concrete d e t a i l and the surreal whole has; at f i r s t always.aroused c r i t i c i s m from the majority of readers who i n s i s t on factualism, l o g i c a l plot development, platitudes, morality and reason. That c r i t i c i s m - , as i s known to a l l , hasn't stopped i n our day: i t i s aimed at so-called " d i f f i c u l t " writers, such as those who demand the active p a r t i c i p a t i o n off the reader and place demands;  on h i s own imaginative work,......[my s t r e s s ] . It is- this same identification of associative-impressionistic literature with the active and not merely passively receptive reader, who thus becomes a kind of "med-skapare" (co-creator), that marks EkelBf's: BLM (Bonniers  Litterara Magasin) review, of Pehr Osbeck's Dagbok flfwer en Ostindisk Reaa  iren 1750* 1751* 1752« (Journal of an East Indian Journey i n the Y/ears: 1750, 1751 and 1752): "the quality which distinguishes a l l really good literature i s not that through ample and complete descriptions i t makes the fantasy of the reader superfluous but rather that i t leaves i t free rein oriimpercep-tively leads i t into the domains of the unsaid and the implied." (den egen-skap som utmarker a l l verkligt god li t t e r a t u r ar inte att den genom rika och fullstandiga beskrivningar gor lasarens fantasi BverflBdig; Titan att den lamnar den f r i t t spelrum e l l e r omarkligt for den in pa det osagdas e l l e r underfBrstaddas omraden.)^^ Once again i t i s the active reader"role which Ekelof identifies with the l y r i c a l associativeness of an Edith' SBdergran: These words provide the melody, but in such a way that they force the reader to be the accompaniment. He has to provide the counter-point. There are: not two people who understand a piece of music i n the same way and there w i l l not be two people who understand a • 4 . 1 . 1 1 3 poem in the same: way. . . . It is: significant that i t i s i n the role of the writer as active reader that EkelBf defends his use of the quotation technique against charges of plagia?r rism; how to read and how to write are of course to be seen here as comple-mentary processes: One can understand and admire a poem which one can't translate. Then one i s receptive. One can understand and admire a poem and discover that i t can be translated. In that case one i s a co-creator. I know that even receptivity implies a kind of co-creativity. But that's not enough. When one really i s co-creative, that i s due to the fact that the other poem causes one suddenly to discover oneself, opens: a gushing spring as i t were. It i s for that reason that my. own poems sometimes: contain quotes. They are: not quotes; they are identifications, fragments of poems: which I have made my own, so completely that I sometimes; can't distinguish them from that which i s my own, i f there i s such a thing, which I sometimes doubt. For everything human i s inter-connected to such a degree or is? to such a degree entangled with everything else that a l l talk of mine and yours, at least mystice» seems to me to be idle t a l k . 1 1 ^ EkelBf-'s "phenomenological" approach to the process of a r t i s t i c f r u i t i o n can best be observed i n an early commentary, an early notebook entry i n his Cahier I: "Now someone w i l l probably say," how could one measure the very beauty of a thing? I have maintained that one w i l l be able to understand, purely intellectually, why one thing i s more beautiful than another. What one calls: the beauty of a thing doesn't l i e i n the thing i t s e l f but rather i n the person who looks at i t . Beauty and that which resembles the artist's original conception domlt" l i e i n the thing i t s e l f . A work of art has reached its: goal only once i t i s reborn i n the mind of the observer. The work of art i t s e l f i s dead. The work of art i t s e l f i s only a dead poiiit of departure which leads the right observer to that mood which the; a r t i s t intended, which contains a certain possibility which i t s : author intended.^ ^  A f i n a l remark made i n a letter to Leif SjBberg concerning; the latter's interpretation of MBIna can be cited to emphasize the importance i n EkelBfs; aesthetics of this notion of the active and free reader or "co-creator": You've put a few learned things; into the; essay which I donH know anything about: De Groot and Ying and Yang. But why not; show one's erudition, and I'm a democrat i n a l l my being: therefore: the; reader, the interpreter shall have the right to add his own. This i s necessary. And i t i s classical i n the real sense of the word. In conclusion one can cite T. S. Eliot's defence of St.-John PerseSSs poem Anabase i n his 1930 Preface to his own translation of the poem; i n a state-ment applicable to his own open-form poem The Waste Land and to associative poetry i n general, E l i o t defends the Frenchman's poem againt the charge of being incoherent and chaotic i n the following words: Such selection of a sequence of images and ideas has nothing chaotic about i t . There i s a logic of the imagination as well as a logic of concepts. . . . And i f , as I suggest, such an arrange-ment of imagery requires just as much "fundamental brain-work" as the arrangement of an argument, i t i s to be expected that the reader of a poem should take at least as much trouble as a barris-117 ter reading an important decision on a complicated case. The "Mythical Method" and the Typography of the Elegy Undoubtedly the most significant development ih the genesis of Eh Mfllna- Elegi at least i n i t s ; l a s t phase was Ekelof's decision to include i n the work a. montage of vulgar Latin g r a f f i t i , grave inscriptions and defixiones. Sver-: ker Ek: describes the effect of the vulgar Latin section as follows: The insertion off the closed- mass, ofvulgar Latin quotes; into this structure, which u n t i l then had been entirely literary, resulted i n an unexpected contrapuntal effect. Ekelof, who was always interested in the purely typographical textual design of his poems, has arranged the independent block of Latin texts i n the work's; central portion on the left-hand pages and his own text on the right-hand pages i n the same way that i s customary for example i n bilingual scholarly editions of classical texts. The reader i s evidently supposed to be induced into experiencing both the identity and the simultaneity of the two blocks of text. By/ such a contrapuntal effect EkelBf was able to add an entirely different dimension to the Elegy and to establish by spatial juxtaposition a parallel between past and present, a simultaneity of cultural heritage in T. S. Eliot's 119 sense. Eliot's own The; Waste Land, as is well-known, makes use of this: method of juxtaposition: the London of the 20's glides over into Elizabethan London and the jump; from one histo r i c a l plane to another i s made effortlessly, as when the poem's " I " meets a previous; incarnation of another character mentioned in the poem, an incarnation with whom he himself was acquainted in a previous existence: "'Stetson! / 'You who were with me in the ships at Mylae!'" (lines 69-70). In a similar vein EkelBf writes i n the poem "Gal-jonsbilder" (Figure-heads) i n Strountes: "And Cleopatra- / isn't that the harbour tavern's Hulda in her shift / risen from the dead and more disturbing i n this state / under a different name?" (Och Cleopatra dar- / ar det inte hamnkrogens Hulda i sark / ateruppstanden och mera oroande i . detta t i l l s t a n d / med fBrandrat namn?) The technique i s of course ancient: Dante i n La Divina. Commedia; jumps easily from one historical-mythological level to another, almost as i f he lacked that capacity for historical distancing, for seeing the a l t e r i t y of past periods of history, which we c a l l the historical sense. The coup de maxtre which led EkelBf to introduce the vulgar Latin texts into his poem and thus to give i t a documentary dimension as well as the contrapuntal effect of a continuous parallel between the popular-classical past and the modern seems to have been the result of a moment of inspiration, i f we are to judge by a note in the author's notebook AC. The entry i s dated 12-13 June (-1959?) * 71 Idee, a ce qu'il me semble de premiere importance. L'Elegie commence calmement [. ..] mais vers les pp 10 ou peut-etre 15 avec des vides, l a page a gauche par exemple et puis un tas de coquilles ou plutot g r a f f i t i (voir ceux de Pompei), de S3 poeme s grotesques ou lubriques, tous-, des phrases depourvu [sic] de sens, meme dans mon alphabet. Une espece de pluie de Leonides, disturbances Poemes: Horse-radish When an emperor Prom the children's town The series G r a f f i t i s : Yesterday I made Elsa; etc. Prick Kamalattasprache [?] It i s with complete justification that Ek i n his essay on En MBlna- Elegi insists on the care with which EkelBf treated the typographical arrange-ment off his poetry collections and i n particular of the Elegy. Reidar Ekner speaks i n connection with the: 1962 reeditionooff Sent pa jorden of "Otto G. Carlsund's coloured vignette and the empty pages which i n EkelBf*s compo-sit i o n of" his poetry suites serve a purpose which i s not only aesthetic." (Otto G. Carlsunds farglagda vignett och de tomma^  sidor som i EkelBfs; kompo-120 nerande av sina diktsviter f y l l e r en funktion som inte enbart ar estetisk.) EkelBf'a; attention to the typographical layout of his poetry collections i s underlined by a manuscript note, a directive to Bonniers regarding the use of the Elegy i n the. collected edition of his works, which were published i n the; so-called "blomsterupplaga" (flower edition)- series of the major Swedish poets: A MBIna Elegy / i f i t i s ./thought ^ appropriate that i t be included. In that case i t must not be set i n a different way than i n the original edi or at least as similarly as possible. That means that a l l the spaces (pauses) have to he retained. There can he 121 no question off an ensuite-setting. Ekelof's insistence here on the importance of the empty spaces or pauses i n the typographical layout is^ especially meaningful i n view of the poem's complicated time speculation as outlined above, whereby the poem was con;-: ceived as being a representation of one moment in time;. What Hans Ruin says of poetry in general and of i t s "collected present" seems to be an ideal description of the role or the effect of the blank: spaces i n the Elegy: Nowhere do pauses* intervals and silent parentheses play such a role as; i n poetry. In i t punctuation altogether has an incomparable importance. One cannot say that one i s dealing here with "gaps" or "holes" i n the poetic stream, for they are intense moments f u l l of l i f e , gathering points of a kind for what has preceded or per-haps we:> ought to say something l i k e moments of fulfillment for the transformation which out of the mosaic word-pieces; makes an 122 indivisible unity, experienced as a single present "now." In a letter to fru Gemma Snellman of the publishing company Raben & Sjogren, EkelOff makes i t imperative that that particular publishing firm's publication of a; section of the Elegy remain as close as possible to the original typo-graphical arrangement of the 1960 Bonniers edition of1 the work: The poetry t i t l e s you quote—"On Mblna jetty," "Billows song," "The return journey" etc. etc.—are actually only marginal notes of a sort. The poem i s one-. The t i t l e off the; selected section ought to be "Prom A Molna Elegy. The Introduction." The last part of the section consists off a parenthesis "(Curtain. Lame elves dance)." That should be deleted. The section must, as for the rest, be set observing a l l the same 'pauses" (larger or smaller blank intervals) as i n the original edition in "Our Swedish Poetry" (the so-called "flower , ; tedition") which came out this spring. This i s a sine qua 123 non and I request that I be allowed to take a look at the proofs. Before leaving this particular aspect of EkelBf 1s work, one could mention i n conclusion the fact that EkelBf shares his typographical pre-occupations with two other poets which are among his "elective a f f i n i t i e s , " Mallarme and Apollinaire. Mallarme's use of typography to express both aesthetic and philosophical concerns i s paramount i h his Un coup de des, a work which EkelBf cites as one of the inspirational impulses behind his own debut collection Sent pa . j o r d e n . H i s notebook A (nr. 9 t 1928') contains the following Appllinairean arrangement of verses: Point d*ex< c 1 amour m Je veuxcmordre amour t ta jouer i o n . The; .Quotation-Allusion Technique;/ , The quotation technique i s a li t e r a r y method that one can follow a l l the way through EkelBf fs production but i t . i s only i n En MBlna-Elegi that i t becomes the dominant structural principle. It i s interesting i n this context to?compare the Elegy with "Samothrake," a poem which i s closely related both genetically and thematically to i t . The dramatic version of the poem with the subtitle; "Em demokratisktvaxelsang" (A Democratic Anti-phon) which was published separately/ i n Bonniers Littera-ra Magasin i n 1943 contains near the end i n a section entitled "RBster" (Voices) a veritable; pile of quotations from or allusions to Baudelaire, Walt Whitman, Joseph Conrad, Harry Martinson and Homer. Gunnar TidestrBm i n his analysis of 74 this second, dramatic version of the; poem writes: There? is? a grandiose thought i n this fragment, where voices:; from past centuries and various nations; report at the great i n -scription, voices from Prance, England, America, Norway, Portugal, Iceland, Greece and the; Orient. But admittedly one has to say that the learned poet i s quite undemocratic; insofar as he presumes; a far greater literary culture among his readers than he reasonably has the right to expect. None other than the poet himself can com-pletely grasp the; refined echo; effect of the many voices; . . . The method of enriching a poem* s atmosphere; with half-hidden quotes has much to o f f e r — Ekelof has probably learned to appreciate i t through T. S. E l i o t — b u t the poet realized himself that he had gone too far 125 and for that reason he deleted the section later on. . . . EkelBf has defended the quotation technique as applied i n the Elegy against the charge of a r t i f i c i a l i t y and plagiarism by emphasizing that culture i s "one and indivisible" (en och odelbar) and by pointing to the 126 fact that the method has been around for centuries. In a letter to; his; cousin the musicologist Ove Nordwall dealing with his; use of the SBdergran lines;from "Ingenting" (Nothing) (p. 58 of the Elegy), EkelBf writes: And why did I assimilate; a quote just as well as Stravinsky? Think of Dante! Think of how Orpheus and Eurydice make their appearance i n the andante movement of Mbzart'js Concerto i n A major. And I&m convinced that Gluck i n turn got the quote from somewhere else. Slavish imitations; don't count, but tradition, 127 which i s great and unbroken, does. Etc. There i s a lack of any systematic study of the quotation-allusion technique i n literature and one wonders i f such an undertaking i s even a theoretical possibility given the frequently idiosyncratic or highly personal use of the technique i n the work of individual a r t i s t s . There can be no doubt, however, that the use: of such a technique at least i n its; pre-Romantic 75 form presupposed an unbroken and unreflected contact with tradition and a lesser emphasis on the role of individuality and originality i n art. A good example of such a self-evident use5 of the quotation i n the music of the-Baroque period i s Bach's adaptation of works by his contemporary Antonio Vivaldi, i n particular i n his (Bach's) six organ concerti BWV 592-597 or his 128 concerto: i n A minor BWV 1065 for four harpsichords. Several of the Swedish c r i t i c s who reviewed En MBlna-Elegi upon i t s appearance i n November i960 expressed their estrangement with respect to the application of the quotation-allusion technique i n the poem. Lars Gustaf-sson, for example, wrote i n the Upsala Nya Tidning that "the idea of the poem's endless and timeless present has been taken as a pretext for a quota-tion technique which does not always: lead to the desired result; frequently i t i s more confusing than revealing." (iden om diktens andlBsa och tidlBsa nu har tagits som fBrevandning for en citatteknik som inte; a l l t i d har l e t t \129 t i l l det onskade resultatet.) Artur Lundkvist i n his extremely negative review of the work commented thus on the use of the quotation-allusion tech-nique: EkelBfs text can be said to resemble a dog cemetery. But. what l i e s buried there i s of course above a l l allusions-and quotations, from the "Song of Songs!' to pages from Swedenborg's Dream Book i n the original spelling, from Bellman to SBdergran." And naturally (out of politeness towards the reader?) without quotation marks. • 150 Bengt Holmqvist of Dagens Nyheter was generally positive i n his. attitude towards the work but emphasized the exclusivity and abstruseness which the use of the quotation-allusion technique entailed. GOran Palm's reaction to the latter was perhaps the most positive, since he maintained that the poem could even be read quite well without any knowledge whatsoever' of the sources 76 of the various quotations, so well had EkelBf succeeded i n assimilating "foreign" material: The quotation technique— . , . — i t also has its? drawbacks, for where does one draw the line between legitimate use and theft i n this case? One asks this with particular uneasiness, not because EkelBf could be said to have buried himself under a patchwork quilt of quotations but quite the contrary: because he has such a weird capacity for giving even the most foreign quotes an "unmistakably EkelBfian" stamp with the help of contextual suggestiveness. I t i s actually possible—I have done i t myself at one time—to read A MBlna Elegy as i f i t didn't contain any quotes at a l l , despite the archaic spelling and everything else, and this, of course, speaks from a poetic point of view i n EkelBf • s; favour. 1 ^ 1 Other readers of the poem have indeed experienced EkelBfs a b i l i t y to trans-form foreign material into his own, his faculty of "restlose Verwandlung," i n a similar way. In a letter of 6 October 1 9 6 4 , for example, EkelBfs cousin Ove Nordwall wrote to the poet: Now. I know of course that "be s t i l l my child / there i s nothing" is. SBdergran and not EkelBf. But when I read those lines i n SBdergran, i t struck me how inseparably connected they are with .'MBlna,' and I think I understand why they made such a strange impression i n the context where I f i r s t came across them. Never so much the SBdergran fragment i t s e l f (that was never the case), but rather just this epilogue, this,human situation. If that was a bad testimonial to my knowledge of literature, i t was the opposite to your poem: i t belongs to you, not: to i t s fragments and reminiscences. I know of no other example outside of Stravinsky where an a r t i s t has succeeded so completely i n transforming "foreign" material, i n making i t into 132 something new, unique and personal. In a previously cited commentary, EkelBf himself stressed the fact that the i quotations which he was accustomed to use i n his poems are not quotes hut rather "identifications, fragments of poems which I have made my own, so completely that I sometimes- can't distinguish them from that which i s my own, i f there i s such a thing, which I sometimes doubt." (identifikationer, diktfragment som jag gjort t i l l mina egna, sa restlBst att jag ibland inte kan s k i l j a det fran sadant som ar mitt eget, om nu sadant finns, vilket jag ibland tvivlar p a . ) 1 ^ One wonders whether Goran Palm's remark:about the possibility of reading En MBlna-Elegi with profit without any prior knowledge of the quotation sources is not, after a l l , more perspicacious and less: superficial that i t would perhaps at f i r s t appear, i n other words whether knowledge of such sources i s not just as much an obstacle as an aid to reading. Much of the criticism that Leif SjBberg has devoted to the1 work i s an attempt to uncover objective reasons for,nEkelflf's having quoted from particular sources, objec-tive insofar as there would be a verifiable motivation, thematic, psycholog^-i c a l or otherwise, which could serve to; link the source with the new context i n which the quotes have been placed. EkelBf has himself pointed out the dangers; connected with such an empirical approach i n a note to the same c r i t i c concerning his use of a particular Bellman allusion i n the Elegy: "The same question has to be asked about your efforts to find objective justifications i n Bellman for my quoting of him. The quotes are everywhere of a subjective character." (Samma fragetecken galler detta att du v i l l sBka objektivaibelagg hos Bellman fBr mitt citerande av honom. Citaten ar Bver-a l l t av subjektiv pragel.) The reader who: i s too well-acquainted with SjBberg's almost obsessive attempts to search out the sources of the allusions and quotations i n En MBlna-Elegi w i l l , I think, experience a blockage of what Umberto Eco calls the process of aesthetic "fruition" (fruizione), that i s to say that the c r i t i c a l structures which Sjttoerg has built up w i l l hinder him in reading the text with anywhere that immediacy which characterizes the: i n i t i a l "temporal" reading of the work. There i s a fascinating passage i n Opera apertai where Eco describes that gradual but inevitable process whereby our reading of a text becomes spatial as opposed to the i n i t i a l temporal consump-tion of the literary work and to such an extent that we gradually develop an almost complete immunity to the aesthetic stimulus. This process of gradual satiation begins i n a. sense already with the second reading of the work, which constitutes i t s e l f , of necessity, more spatially than temporally, since our memory of the f i r s * reading imprints on the second a certain interpretive configuration which, for better or for worse, makes i t impossible for us to experience—or reexperience the temporal flow of the text: but: in this case the slackening of attention obviously comes into play: a sort of habituation to the stimulus, by virtue of which on the one hand the signs that compose i t [the stimulusj, by dint of being fo c a l i z e d — l i k e an object looked at too long or a word whose significance we have thought of over and over again—generate a kind of satliety and appear obtuse (there where there i s only a momentary obtuseness of our sensibility); and on the other hand, dragged along by the mechanism of habit, the memories which we take with us i n the act of perception, instead of being a fresh product of our stimulated memory, form themselves into schemas, summaries:, of the memories which had been conveyed previously. Here the process of aesthetic f r u i t i o n i s blocked] and the form, as i t i s contemplated, i s reduced to a conventional schema i n which our sensibility, which has been provoked too long, seeks rest. To look at the matter from another perspective, i f there i s anything which the structuralist approach to literature has taught one, i t i s that the whole of the work of art determines the function and meaning of the individual parts and that one cannot expect the same individual element to function identically or even i n a similar way i n two separate and divergent contexts. Applied to the problem of the quotation as i t has been assimilated more or less a r t i f i c i a l l y , more or less idiosyncratically into a new; context, this truism becomes decisive, for as Wolfgang Iser has written regarding Eliot's use of;the quotation-allusion technique: . Die Zitate sind von ihrenr ursprtlnglichen Kontext gelBst und i n eine; ganz andere Umgebung versetzt. Die Kontextbedeutungen [those of the old context] schwingen ohne Zweifel mit, verlieren aber i n der neuen Umgebung die Eindeutigkeit des ursprunglich gemeinten Sinnes. Der neue Kontext setzt andere Bedeutungen der Zitate bzw. der literarischen Anspielungen f r e i , indem er dieddurch einen bestimmten Sinnzusammenhang verdeckten „Richtungsfaktoren" J^Ingarden's term, cf. Das literarische Kunstwerk, p. 95] <l e r zitierten Sfltze entfaltet. Diese wiederum beginnen auf den 156 neuen Kontext zurUckzuwirken. EkelBf's; Concept of Tradition and Culture EkelBf s; use i n En MBlna-Elegi of both the quotation-allusion technique i n the style of Eliot's The Waste Land and of his own particular variant of the "mythical method" (to use T. S. Eliot's; term as applied to Joyce's Ulysses; i n his; review, of the novel i n The Dial of November 19?5)* whereby a parallelism i s established between the modern period and antiquity ( i n EkelBf s case understood i n it s ; popular manifestations;), cannot of course be grasped without reference to his attitude to tradition. Eliot i n his above-mentioned review of Ulysses has underlined the ordering function of the "mythical method": "It i s simply a way of controlling, of ordering, of giving a shape and a significance to the immense panorama of f u t i l i t y and 80 anarchy which is contemporary history." 1'" Similarly, George Steiner i n his After Babel has pointed out: the paradoxical nature of the collage tech-nique as i t has been applied i n so many modern poems, from Eliot's The Waste  Land and Pound's Cantos; to-William Carlos Williams' Paterson and Gunnar Eke-l B f s En MBlna-Elegi: i t has been employed i n many significant 20th century works which we have come to regard as "revolutionary" and yet, more than anything else, i t has to be; seen as representative of a desire for escape from chaos, from the total absence of transcendent values which has been identified ad nauseam with the modern period. It i s an attempt, however a r t i f i c i a l , to reestablish a sense of order and feeling-of contact with tradi-tion. Steiner writes of this "dynamic traditionality" characteristic of much of modern art from Stravinsky (one of Ekelof s; favourite' composers;) to Pound and E l i o t i n the following terms: We know now/ that the modernist movement which dominated! art, music, letters during the f i r s t half of the century was, at c r i t i c a l points, a strategy of conservation, of custodianship. . . . In twentieth-century literature, the elements of reprise have been obsessive, and they have organized precisely those texts, which at f i r s t seemed most revolutionary. 'The Waste Land', Ulysses;, Pound's Cantos are deliberate assemblages, in-gatherings of a; cultural past f e l t to be i n danger of dissolution. . . . The apparent iconoclast's have turned out to be more or less anguished custodians racing through the museum of c i v i l i z a t i o n , seeking order and sanctuary for i t s treasures, before closing time. In modernism collage has been the representative device. The new, even at i t s most scandalous, has been set against an informing background and 1 58 framework of tradition. . . . This modern—or modernist—use of tradition as a means of sel f - d e f i n i - -tion has also a more; s t r i c t l y philosophical dimension, for as Steiner has emphasized wi'th respect to the philosophies: of Hegel and. Heidegger "being must: engage other being i n order to achieve s e l f - d e f i n i t i o n . " ' J J This notion of the impossibility of self-definition without interaction has i t s most admirable exponent i n Sartre, i n particular the Sartre of Huis  clos (1947)• This viewing of the past, of the dead, of tradition as an essential element of self-definition, as a prerequisite for orientation i n the present i s also to be found in EkelBf: "Only by following the history of the dead can one get one's bearings and at least find a latitude for determining one;'s position; after that one has to try on one's own to be the longitude." (Endast efter de dBdas historia kan man pejla och fa atmin-stone en latitud t i l l positionsbestamnihgen, sen far man s jalv/ sBka. vara longituden.) 1^ When examining the modern attitude to tradition, i t i s above a l l to T. S. Eliot's famous: essay "Tradition and the Individual Talent" that one turns, with i t s statement that "the whole of the literature of Europe from Homer and within i t the whole of the literature of his own [the individ-ual a r t i s t ' s ] country has a simultaneous1 existence and composes a simultane-ous o r d e r . " ^ The collage structure of Eliot's own The Waste Land i s i n a sense an exemplification of this dictum. One of the thrusts of this essay i s to- attack the overemphasis on originality, one- of the values: which the modern, post-Romantic period has perniciously inherited from the? "Geniekult" of the Romanticsj. One of the facts that might come to light i n this process i s our-tendency to i n s i s t , when we praise a poet, upon those-aspects of his work i n which he least resembles; any one else. In these aspects or parts of his work we pretend to find what i s individ-ual, what i s the peculiar essence of the man. We dwell with satisfaction upon the poet's difference from his predecessors, especially his immediate predecessors. . . . Whereas i f we approach a poet without this prejudice we- shall often find that 82 not only the; best, but the most individual parts of his work may be those; i n which the dead poet's, his ancestors, assert 142 their immortality most vigorously. . . . The? emphasis on originality as a criterion of a r t i s t i c talent i s also entirely opposed to EkelBf's insistence; on the necessary anonymity of the ar t i s t , to EkelBf S : opposition to any personality cult. In a note i n his notebook AU (1965)» for example, he writes: It i s true what i s said nowadays: [One says nothing new when one says] The- work of? art is; independent of the a r t i s t lives i t s own l i f e within i t s own frame:? in i t s own light, i n i t s own tonality The ancients knew that, who remained anon--??' ymous?. Reidar Ekner has employed the terms "egenart" (individuality) and "tradi-143 tion" i n his attempt to; characterize EkelBfs authorship. That for EkelBf these two aspects stood i n a kind of dialectical relationship to each other, that for him the a r t i s t is; necessarily involved i n balancing, in maintaining? an equilibrium between the two i s shown by a draft to a review of Salvador. Dali's autobiography (capsule 'OF1 'Opublicerad FBrsBksprosa'); EkelBf's attitude towards Dali i s generally negative and motivated by his belief that Dali was unsuccessful i n maintaining a f r u i t f u l and deep relationship with tradition, an equilibrium between the objective (contact with tradition) and the subjective (personal creativity, i.e. a modification of tradition): fhe objective? and-the subjective i n art? Both have to exist. No one can? be objective without a comprehensive training i n cultural history; only on the basis of that can he establish his elective a f f i n i t i e s , make his choice—become subjective. Subjectivity alone' i s — i f i t i s even possible i n a r t — a kind of flabby fa s t i d -83 iousnesB. Objectivity by i t s e l f i s eclecticism and unproductive-ness* An ar t i s t ' s attitude can neither be the one? nor the other; i t i s relative. Thus a relative objectivity whose modifying;' component is? a relative subjec.tivity=a striving for balance between tradition and innovative creativity. Above a l l i t i s important to begin from the beginning, experience a l l the foetal stages i n order to become a human being. No soul, not even , Mozart's, i s born complete. I t has to undergo a second gestation after the; physical one. This organic development cannot be precipitated. One cannot jump: over 7 grades i n that school and be a ready-made student (which one could perhaps do to advantage? i n the other? school, "the school of learning," but even l i f e ' s slowness and the constraint of having to plod through the grades at the pace of the worst, that i s i n the comprehensive school, has i t s function). An entry i n Ekeloff's "Notbok 1941" moves i n the same direction of a balancing between personal creativity and a? sense of tradition: "But just as l i t t l e as I want to refrain from displaying the individuality of my thought (work) ought I to neglect to acknowledge i t a connections." (Men l i k a l i t e t som jag, v i l l avstal fran att manifestera min tankes (arbetes) egenart, l i k a l i t e t b8r jag ju underlata att erkanna dess bundenheter.) 1^ A marginal note to an essay draft dealing; with the question of Swedish writers and the European tradition demonstrates i n a similar fashion EkelOf's capacity for viewing a r t i s t i c individuality not i n opposition to but rather as a function of tradition and influence: "No one uninfluenoed, everyone original, essentially alone. Culture indivisible." (ingen opaverkad a l i a origihella, i gr. o. botten ensamma. Kulturen odelbar.) Both Walter Benjamin i n his theses "Tiber den Begriff der Geschichte" and T. S. E l i o t i n "Tradition and the Individual Talent" i n s i s t upon the fact that the cultural past i s not given once and for a l l , not eternal and timeless, but rather that there is?a continuous dialectic between the pre-84 sent and the past through which the past i s "being perpetually redefined and and altered just as much i n function of an ever changing and accumulating pres*-ent as; the present i n i t s turn i s continually defining itseM' through i t s identification with the past, with one particular phase of the past. E l i o t , for instance;, writes: The existing monuments form an ideal order among themselves, which i s modified by, the introduction of the new (the r e a l l y new.) work of art among them. The existing order i s complete before the-new work arrives; for order to persist after the; supervention of novelty, the whole existing order muat be, ever so slightly, altered; and so the relations, proportions, values of each work: of art toward the whole; are; readjusted; and this i s conformity between the; old and the; new. Whoever has approved this idea of order, of the form of European, of English literature- w i l l not find i t preposterous that the past should be altered by the; present as much as; the present i s 146 directed by the?past. ^  EkelBfs similar, i f not altogether: similar awareness of this dialectic i s shown by a note? i h his Cahier 5 (from around 1933)' "Culture isn't past, fixed, immovable but changes? continually i n the direction of a certain future; is. recreated, reformed like the skin of the human body, grows out of i t s centre: l i f e , content towards the; periphery: the past, the ideal, where i t gradually peels off li k e hardened epidermis." (Kultur ar inte; fBrflutet, fast, orubbligt utan fBrandras? standigt mot en vise framtid, nyskapas, nybildas som huden pa? manniskans? kropp, vaxer ur sin medelpunkt l i v e t , innehallet ut mot periferien det fBrflutna* idealet, dar den smaningom f a l l e r bort som hardnad hornhud.) Carl Fehrman i n the? chapter "Gunnar EkelBf och traditioneri" (Gunnar Eke-lBf and Tradition) i n Poesi. och parodi. (1957) has? maintained! that there was a development i n EkelBf from an early more negative attitude to tradition towards a later more positive attitude, marked by his criticism of "the almost frenzied contemporary lack of tradition" (den nastan rabiata nutida tradi-tionslBsheten) and by such statements as the following i n what one can consider to be the programmatic statement of this new positive evaluation and defence of tradition, the essay "Var traditionslBshet" (Our Lack off Tradition) i n the essay collection Blandade kort (Shuffled Cards) (1957): "In many ways the Swede i s the most consistent patricide i n Europe; his watch continually wants to move from twelve to one." (Pa manga s&tt ar svensken den mest konsekvente fadermordaren i . Europa, hansVMocka v i l l standigt ga fran tolv/ t i l l e t t . ) ^ " ^ In some notes appended to a letter to Karl Ragnar Gierow, Ekelof deplores "the traditional Swedish lack of tradi-tion, the generations' termination of friendship with each other, the treachery of one?era towards another" (den> traditionella svenska tradi-tionslBshet? igenerationernas uppsfigande av bekantskapen med varandra, tids-aldrarnas fBrraderi mot varandra) and states: There i s an unusually undeveloped sense of tradition i n Sweden vis-a-vis literature: an educated Swede of today knows nothing of his father's favourite writers and even less of the older generations'. I f one compares this with England, America, - - -France, Germany, Spain etc.* then the. productive relationship between the generations has taken on another aspect among us. Ekelof puts his criticism of the modern lack of a sense of tradition i n even stronger terms i n another note: "we live i n a tradition and ought to give expression to i t . To believe that one can break with the past i s an i l l u -sion; i t i s hubris." ( v i lever i en tradition och bbr ge uttryck at det. o \149 Att tro sig kunna bryta med det fBrgangna ar en i l l u s i o n , det ar hybris.) It i s , however, only with considerable reservations that one can accept Fehrman1s diagnosis of the evolution i n EkelBf *s; attitude to tradition, for 86 as. Bengt Landgren has convincingly demonstrated i n his discussion of the subject, EkelBf uses the term "tradition" in extremely varied significations and neither does his early rejection of tradition i n the essay "Under hund-stjarnan" (Under the Dog Star) (1934) imply a total rejection of." a l l forms? of tradition nor does his later insistence on the importance of having a sense of tradition imply an unconditional acceptance of a l l forms of tradi-1 50 tion, Landgren has pointed out that i n contrast to his later criticism of the Swedish lack of a sense of tradition EkelBf's early: use of the term had a far more exclusive meaning; his later use of the term has "wider implica-tions and includes not only particular individuals' contributions i n the past but also even collective manifestations, the way of l i f e and purely material conditions of times long past." (uppenbarligen en vidare- syftning och ihnefattar inte bara enskilda individers insatser i det fBrflutna utan aven kollektiva- manifestationer, svunna tiders livsformer och rent materiella betingelser.) This later, more concrete and generally inclusive use of the term i s perhaps best exemplified by a poem such as "Torna Zeffiro" (Opus ihcertum. 1959) with its. incessant exhortation "Turn around!" (V&nd dig om!): So turn around, bending, coughing poet toward the youth who played the zither incomparably you old lady, toward her who?wove the bridal sheet Turn around, painter, to the time when you yourself sized the canvasses and you yourself ground your colours and you, sculptor, toward the time when you barefoot trod the clay Turn back fisherman to the shore, that taught you to f i s h 87 Ekelof! »s early criticism of tradition was undoubtedly motivated by the icohoclasm of the burgeoning a r t i s t seeking to establish himself and has; to be seen as an element of his 'generally vehement social criticism as i t findaexpression i n the essay "Under hundstjarnan," where a l l social institutions: are branded as forms off "death-in-life," as; being impediments to the spontaneous flow of l i f e . In what i s apparently a reference to Sent  pa .jorden i n the; author's notebook N, this opposition to "culture" and tradi-tion understood i n the limited sense becomes evident: Suicide poetry . . . Suicide poetry plus almost a mood of museum. What impressions don't the sarcophagi collections; of big museums and other vestigia vitae mortisque make on one's state of mind on a grey Sunday with ringing bells, the echoing footsteps; of dawdling visitors and the ennui of the early afternoon hours. A thick layer of cultural dust covers our lives. . . . In an essay "Konsten och l i v e t " (Life and Art) from 1934 i n which he deals; with the problem of form versus content (a conserving, limiting form versus;, a continually revolting "livsinnehall" [Lebensinhalt]) on the analogy of the capitalist system; with i t s strikes and lockouts, Ekelof expresses an attitude which seems to be characteristic of his early negative assessment of a c a l c i -fied cultural tradition: Formal tradition i n art inescapably has; the character of capital. By analogy with capital formation one can speak of culture formation and by analogy with capital of cultural tradition. . . . Neverthe-less i t i s undeniable that a great deal of modern art from a l l other points of view except that of the collector reaches up to and surpasses the? old masters who have been capitalized on i n the halls, of museums and i n galleries. The process of tradition-bound collecting hinders l i f e ' s spontaneous creativity. . . . And under the solid and venerable arches of form, which rest on his shoulders, the a r t i s t stands there small and afraid of losing 88 his inheritance. He i s content with the past l i k e an i l l i t e r a t e with the printed word. He i s at home with tradition's comfortab] guardianship l i k e the- i n v a l i d with h i s idees f i x e s . What EkelBf i n h i s early years opposes i s the myth of. "culture" as an ide a l inventory of et e r n a l l y beautiful objects or a r t i f a c t s . Culture i n his conception i s rather the product: of a dialecticatoand productive r e l a -tionship between present and past; a r t i s t i c forms and l i f e are-not viewed' as opposites; but rather as elements which mutually condition each other: To l i v e i s not the same thing' as to own—a position, a fortune, a s t y l e , a culture. One doesn't own oner's l i f e : ; one creates i t . That culture which the newpapers d a i l y t r y to convince us that we own i s a millstone around our necks. Culture; i s n ' t past, f i x e d , immovable but changes continually i n the di r e c t i o n of a certain future; i s recreated, reformed l i k e the skin of the human body, grows out of i t s centre: l i f e , content towards the periphery: the paat, the i d e a l , where i t gradually peels off l i k e hardened epidermis. Ih t h i s way the l i f e of images i s the same thing as; l i f e ' s images5, but a l l of l i f e ' s , not just those parts which human insecurity has idea l i z e d i n order to create an imaginary support 1 53 f o r i t s e l f , a straw which man clings to> instead off swimming. Both i m p l i c i t l y through the structure of works such as The? Waste Land and En Molna-Elegi, where the quotation technique- i s a st r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e , and e x p l i c i t l y i n th e i r t h e o r e t i c a l , programmatic commentaries, writers; such as T. S. E l i o t and Gunnar EkelBf have i n d i r e c t l y or: d i r e c t l y lamented the loss of that sense of continuity which contact with t r a d i t i o n supplies, but as Theodor Adorno has; said: "Real verlorene Tradition i s t nicht fisthetisch zu surrogieren." f^^ Further, a r e a l sense: of t r a d i t i o n i s i n a sense opposed e n t i r e l y to; the type of self-conscious r e f l e c t i o n off " t r a d i t i o n " on i t s own nature that i s observable both i n E l i o t and EkelBf: "Darttber zu klagen, 8 9 Tradition als heilsanr zu empfehlen, 1 s t ohnmaehtig und widerspricht deren 1 55 eigenem Wesen." EkelBf»s Conception of History and Classical Antiquity Walter Benjamin i n hiss "Tiber den Begriff der Geschichte" expresses an awareness of the fact that!; "culture" as; i t i s traditionally understood—in i t s narrow sense--is inevitably the culture of the ruling classes and there-fore: an instrument of oppression. In his attack on 1 9 t h century hiatoricism he writes: Die; jeweils Herrsehenden sind aber die Erben a l l e r , die je gesiegt haben. . . . Wer immer bis zu diesem; Tage; den Sieg davontrug, der marschiert mit i n dem Triumphzug, der die heute Herrsehenden fiber die dahihfuhr.t, die heute: am Bbden; liegen. Die Beute wird, wie das; immer so iiblich war, im Triumphzug mitgeftthrt. Man bezeichnet sie; als Kulturgliter. Sie werden im hiatorischen Materialisten mit einem distanzierten; Betrachter zu rechnen; haben. Denn was er an; Eulturgtltern tlberblickt, das i s t samt und sonders von einer Abkunft, die er nicht ohne Grauen bedenken kann. Es; dankt sein; Basein nicht nur- der Mtihe der grossen; Geni'en* die es; geschaffen haben, sonderns auch der namenlosen Fron ihrer Zeitgenossen. Es i s t niemals eini Dokument der Kultur, ohne zugleich ein solches. der Barbarei zu sein. Und wie es selbst nicht f r e i ! i s t von Barbarei, so i s t auch der Prozess; der Uberlieferung nicht, i n der es von dem einen an den andern gefalien i s t . Der histofische Materialist rilckt daher nach Massgabe des: MOglichen von ihr ab. Er betrachtet es als seine 1 56 Aufgabe, die Geschichte gegen den StrrLch zu biirsten. A consistent feature of EkelBf's conception of history and of his thereto; re-lated attitude towards culture i s a p o l i t i c a l awareness similar to; that ex-pressed by Benjamin; "history" as i t has?been traditionally taught i n the schools, that i s as? a collection of dates and great men, i s viewed as? a complete f a l s i f i c a t i o n and one which cannot hide the barbarousness of the ruling classes. It; i s the entire; concept of" classical antiquity as "Edle: Einfalt und s t i l l e GrBsse" which comes under EkelOf's?attack: That conception of? antiquity which could be put to the charge of the entire period thereafter but especially from Winckelmann, Goethe, Ehrensvard onwards, in other words neoelassicismj,is i n my opinion radically false. Of course there were senators, orators, historiographers, philosophers, even an occasional emperor who spoke in a noble tone i n the style of "Edle Einfalt und s t i l l e Grosse " . . . But the truth i s that even Cato the Elder had farms of a Nazi type for the production and procreation of slaves with a view to sale. . . v "The mdbl&1 Romans," no?.thanks, there has never 157 been worse rabble. . . . In a similar vein Theodor Adorno writes: "Inhuman i s t aber das Vergessen [der Tradition], weil das akkumulierte? Leiden vergessen wird; denn die geschichtliche Spur an den Dingen, Worten, Parben und TBnen i s t immer die; '1 58 vergangenen Leidens." In another commentary dealing with his conception of classical antiquity EkelBf expresses his opposition to the view that the o f f i c i a l culture of that period (that dimension which i s now studied i n schools and according to Ekei' lof romanticized) i s necessarily representative and contrasts this o f f i c i a l culture with a popular, anonymous undercurrent which he refers to as a sort of antique Middle Ages, sees as the real essence of the culture of the period and regards as having survivedf.into the modern period i n the form of a collec tive unconscious? despite the hegemony of the^ o f f i c i a l l y recognized but a r t i -f i c i a l l y maintained cultural superstructure: What Winckelmann and other enthusiasts—or schoolmasters—and along with- them we have come to ca l l , antiquity, classical antiq-uity, i s only the o f f i c i a l or officious part of this great cultur-a l complex'. What we c a l l the Middle Ages was already present there i n seminal form, both with respect to i t s zealotry or piety and i t s obscurantism. I t was; there as an undercurrent, but i t often rose to; the surface. Furthermore this antique Middle Ages was. to) a great extent the; common people• s view of l i f e : and religion—and has; re-mained so. The death of "antiquity" i s a consequence of the disso-lution and disappearsaice? of? the ruling classes; as; well as of the rise of another ruling class which adopted and i n i t s turn applied the usual method and practice of damnatio memoriae: "Demolish i t , 1 59 demolish i t to; the very ground." In; the same commentary Ekeloff attacks the belief that the language of the rhetors; was anywhere neair the real, popular language of the time: Sometimes i t seems to: me as i f the speeches of the; Roman rhetors were: never given, nor for that matter the imaginary speeches; of the historiographers. What was said from the; rostra was something of a considerably greater general i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y , I believe. Then Cicero and others sat down and hammered out the speeches i n an a r t i f i c i a l prose which never was the spoken language and which few would have understood. Thus the; Latin which we learn was; "dead" even; i n classical times. . . . With his notion of an "antique Middle Ages!' EkelOf i s not far firom Jung's idea of the collective unconscious; i n another commentary he writes thus of this popular undercurrent: About the continuity i n the human race's / subconscious history . . . Subconsciously i.e. outside of the banquet speakers' / circle a kind of truth has stayed / alive. . . . Antiquity never stopped! l i v i n g i t s ; secret / l i f e : despite: Winckelmann and the; neoclassicists such as / Canova or Thorvaldsen / To deny the classical heritage? i s somewhat comparable to / when a patient tries to; repress / his p a s t — i t turns up i n the / dreams he 160 might t e l l some psychoanalyst . . . EkelBf lias l e f t several programmatic statements regarding his views on how a f r u i t f u l education in history—including literary h i s t o r y — would function i n schools. Par from being l i t e r a r y , philosophical-speculative or chronological i n emphasis?, i t would instead be documentary and purposefully nonliterary, concrete and naive, i n short cultural history in an almost archeological sense of the term: How/does - i t help a confused and unruly gymnasium pupil to know something about the cult of reason, utilitarianism and the ideas of the bourgeois revolution when he reads Kellgren and Mrs. Lenn-gren? He w i l l only come to see platitudes and shabby sens moral. Give him instead the age, i t s social tone, the dress among high and low, the f i l t h of the streets and the odours, the carriages, the music, even the hit s , the painting, even the tavern signs, the sexual mores, the shapes of glasses, the decorations on plates, the food recipes, the cry of the chimney sweeps, the ships on the StoBmmen or on the river, the on dits et bons mots of the day, and 161 give i t to him graphically. . . . It i s precisely these documentary aspects held up here as essential means; of access to the past which predominate i n En MBlna-Elegi: not quotes from the classical or traditionally accepted writers but rather EkelBfs own very personal cullings from travel jburnals,. letters; and memoirs* g r a f f i t i indie*-ative of the sexual mores of a particular period ("the juiciest things i n the history of antique mores" [det saftigaste av antik sedehistoriaj to use Eke-162 18f s own term ) and even i n an impressionistic form patterns on plates ("old china with seashells encrusted," "a carved calebash" and "a shell off a sea>-turtle" [ostindiskt medl sn&ckskal bevuxet, en snidad kalebass, ett skal av havsskflldpadda]). EkelBf.'s conception of history i s fundamentally r e a l i s t i c , antiromantic and unheroic i n thrust and i s marked by a resistance to the grammar school's teaching of history as a collection of great men and "by an insistence on the role of the anonymous many. I t i s also anti4Nietzschean as i s shown by a note from 1938 where Ekelof expresses his aversion for the; idea of a " w i l l for power" (Wille zur Macht): Power i s an ersatz. The more time passes the more unreal the great actors appear, while man endures. What i s l e f t of Alexander the Great? Not a hundredth part of Socrates, who during his l i f e -time was obscure. With the aid of time the same w i l l come to be true of Napoleon and Hitler. Not even to speak of such ineffectual measures as Mussolini. "To be nothing more than a human being": 163 that i s a noble task. In a similar commentary from the following year he reiterates his unheroic approach to history: What piles of manure most great men i n history are. Look at . today's date and say what youx think ideologically/and as much' as i s possible privately of those whom history wants to make big. No, the good, honourable and solid people have rarely succeeded i n getting into that society; there certainly must be an abundance of entirely obscure destinies of a solidly human sort. Look for examples of monstrous or stupid people who have been given history' hallmark. Georg Bttchner expresses: a very similar antiheroic conception of history i n a letter dated November 1835 (?) 5 Ich studierte die Geschichte der Revolution. Ich ftlhlte mich wie zernichtet unter dem grasslichen Patalismus der Geschichte. Ich fihde i n der Menschennatur eine entsetzliche Gleichheit, i n den menschlichen Vernal tnissen eine unabwendbare Gewalt, Allen und Keihem verliehen. Der Einzelne nur Schaum auf der Welle, die Grttsse ein blosser Zufall, die Herrschaft der Genies ein Puppen-94 spiel, ein lacherlich.es Ringen gegen ein ehernes Gesetz, es zu erkennen das Hflchste, es zu heherrschen unmoglich. Es f a l l t mir nicht mehr ein, vor den Paradegaulen und Eckstehern der 165 Geschichte mich zu hllcken. It: i s Ekelof ?s emphasis on the anonymous many and his opposition to the heroic approach to history which stands out i n his extremely positive evalu-ation of the Lilljebjbrns' depiction of " l i f e on Varmland country estates" (varmlandskt herrgSrdsliv); their r e a l i s t i c , undistorted and unglorified presentation of Swedish rural l i f e i s contrasted to the romanticization and i d y l l i z i n g of past history as practiced by Selma Lagerlof i n Gtista Berlings  saga (The Saga of Gflsta Berling) or Geijers .Ta«!' two- Lillije^6rns f^faEiUier'aad son, are nonetheless far less romantic than both Geijer and Lagerlof and they therefore seem to me to deserve to a greater extent the epithet "classical." More-over, they are something unusual i h Sweden, namely depiotors, lovers and connoisseurs of human nature. Sweden1s history for them isn't incarnated i n that of " i t s kings" or more or less impro-bable cavaliers but rather i n simple industrialists, profes-sional military men, riflemen of other simple people (,'sj • • • • Swedish writers' depiction of old-time daily l i f e has a romanti-cizing touch which makes the entire thing unrealistic, fantastic. Gosta Berling wasn't so b r i l l i a n t and the kings weren't so power-~ , 166 f u l . • . . For EkelOf history i s thus equivalent to the everyday experiences of the anonymous many and not to the high points represented by the great men. This particular attitude, which has i t s relevance for the structure of En  Molna-Elegi insofar as a certain conception of history i s implied i n the structure of the work with i t s incorporation off such elements as vulgar Latin g r a f f i t i , i s further underlined by a commentary which Ekelof has l e f t behind on the topic myth (saga)-historical r e a l i t y . In his view the myths 95 of the classical Mediterranean world, i n particular those which seem to contain an admixture of the "historically verifiable" (Homer for one?), can neither be regarded as pure myths nor can they be seen as representations of actual, verifiable, empirically given historical facts i n poetic disguise. Rather there i s an interplay between these two levels, one? which EkelBf expresses by the term "typ-Bde" (type- or pattern-destiny). While not denying the possibility that there may indeed have existed an Odysseus, or a Homer, EkelBf claims ;that the fate of Odysseus (Ulysses) should be?seen as a pattern-destiny symbolic or representative of many real, anonymous experi-ences of a similar configuration. Related to this notion of a "typ-Bde" i s EkelBf 1s belief that Homer has to be considered above a l l to have been a normalizer or collector of prevalent myths, a creator of the "canon-myth" or "type-myth" from myths: i n common circulation during his time. Homer himself i s thus merely one representative of an entire: series of saga-tellers and troubadours. To find an exemplification of this complex of EkelBfian specu-lation on the problem of the interference between rayth and historical r e a l i t y , one has to turn to an elaborate note on the subject i n EkelBfs notebook AQ (1966); important here i s the author's stress not on the uniqueness or in d i -viduality- but rather on the generally human representativeness of the c l a s s i -cal adventures of an Odysseus: It i s strange to observe people's, especially learned men's a t t i -tude towards the problem of the"interference of myth/saga-reality. Schliemann was convinced that he had found the graves of? Agamemnon and others* Blegen can't get the burn-levels i n Troy to t a l l y . Victor Berard i s convinced that Ulysses—that i s a real, h i s t o r i c a l Ulys-* . ses>—was tossed ashore on the coast south of Palaiokastritsa on Kerkira [Corfu]. As far as I remember he i s the one who even tried to determine precisely the d r i f t of a fleet of s a i l boats from Malta to there as requiring 16 days. In the Odyssey he sees an exact compte-rendu, something l i k e a logbook or journal. The situation i s of course that myth: and empirical reality entered into a sacred marriage i n the poem. Ulysses i s a modelrdestiny. While one "historical" Ulysses may very well have existed, at the same time there were many Ulysses. While one Agamemnon may very easily have existed, at the: same time there were many Aga-memnons. Their adventures and deeds may have been "historical" but at the same time they are models for adventures and deeds of a similar kind. To reduce the poem to a single rea l i t y which actually occurred (overgrown with various plots) i s to misunder-stand completely the meohanics of man's, every man's spiri t u a l l i f e . Literature and saga often speak the truth, an archeologi-cally tangible and verifiable truth. But to reduce i t to that alone i s an unheard of shortsightedness, the construction of a stay-at-home. For this poem i s about everyone who was i n distress at sea, everyone who got drunk i n the ports, everyone who lusted for power and i n his lust for power was vacillatory and i n his; vacillation arrogant, self-assertive, cunning, supposititiously playing about with "the art of the possible (or of the impossi* ble)." If: one can verify that this person or that person actual-l y lived, that's interesting but nothing more. It's interesting that there i s s t i l l a kernel of historical truth after centuries and millennia of oral or written transmission. But the really interesting thing about these destinies i s that they involved so many anonymous people over such a long period. Literature i s a higher level of truth, a more universal one, not one that i s less historical for being linked with so many anonymous:,,mediators, embellishers and, as: i s often the-case, distorters... . . Just as unfortunate are the judgments of those who refuse a l l " h istorical" speculations on the grounds that the Homeric poems are "only" myths, free fantasies with no roots i n r e a l i t y . Literature i s a combination of re a l i t y and saga. . . . "Meih Freund, die Zeiten der Vergangenheit / Sind uns ein Buch mit sieben Siegelns / Was i h r den Geist der Zeiten heisst, / Das; i s t im Grund 167 derHerren eigner Geist, / In dem die Zeiten sich bespiegeln." With these words of Faust to Wagner, Goethe has touched on the fundamental historical problem, which i s also a problem of "translatability" i n George Steiner's broad sense of the word: the problem of the efficacity or adequacy of our faculty of historical "Ruckeinfuhlung""or retrospective empathy (to 168 use Steiner's application of a term borrowed from Nicolai Hartmann). The modern scepticism towards the possibility of such an historical empathy seems to be general and yet, paradoxically enough, i t i s a concomitant of that very psychic distance which goes under the name of the "historical sense and which presumably i s a recent development i n the history of man. Sartre's novel La Nausee i s decidedly marked by such a scepticism with regard to the f e a s i b i l i t y of a l l attempts to reconstruct the past "as i t happened," for the first-person narrator of the novel Roquentin, .whose sojourn i n the provincial town of Bbuville i s motivated by his histo r i c a l research into the l i f e of the marquis de Rollebon, comes to realize i n the course of the novel disguised as diary the f u t i l i t y , the very impossibility of historical empathy, the entirely f i c t i o n a l nature of his previous attempts to penetrate the l i f e of the hi s t o r i c a l character who i s the object of his research, and eventually decides to write a novel instead. Yet such an awareness of the d i f f i c u l t y of retrospective empathy i s largely lacking i n the works of?certain 19th century histo r i c a l writers credited with having l a i d the foundations of historical research and has motivated the critique of historicism by such writers as Friedrich Nietzsche and Walter Benjamin. There i s an extremely interesting essay by the German literary c r i t i c and theorist Hans Robert Jauss which deals with the treat-ment of history i n the works of the great German historian Rarike. Jauss penetratingly demonstrates how Rahke unreflectingly operates with certain narrative structures of a largely literary bias, a l l the time unaware of the open contradiction which exists between the use of such structures with their more:- or less hidden teleology and his own claim to impartiality and objectivity; his entire scheme: i n other words presupposes: a subsequent knowledge—from his modern; vantage point looking backwards—of the later course of events, of how things came to be, a l l the while maintaining the i l l u s i o n of grasping things from the vantage point of the past (that i s as "Hiatbrie" as opposed to "Geschichte"). Jauss describes this historical "mauvaise f o i " thus: Mehr noch als der Romancier Scott, der seine Erzahlerfunktionen an Romanpersonen delegieren oder perspektivisch verstecken kann, verrat sich der Geschichtsschreiber Ranke standig durch posteriore Gesichtspunkte und asthetische Ordnungskategorien, unter denen der Zeitgenosse [of the past historical period] noch nicht hatte sehen konnen. Bass er den Paden zwischen der Epoche, wie sie eigentlich gewesen, und dem, was aus ihr hervorging, ostentativ durchschnitt, racht sich i n Rankes Vergangenheitsgeschichte vor allem dort, wo ein Moment des Urteils, der Auswahl, Motivation oder Ereighis-verknttpfung; an sich den spateren Standpunkt des GeschichtsschreiV bers voraussetzt, gleichwohl aber der Anschein erweckt werden muss, als ob die erst aus; der Polgewirkung und Retrospektive ermBglichte Sicht schon die den; vergangenen Dihgen inharente 169 Ordnung gewesen i s t . Just as Walter Benjamin i n his "Tiber den Begriff der Geschichte" speaks of a "Tigersprung ins Vergangene" and of the a b i l i t y to understand the; past as the capacity "das Kontinuum der Geschichte; aufzusprengen," i n the same way EkelBf i n several commentaries speaks of identification as the only means of contact with classical antiquity. This identification i s the a b i l i t y to abstract from a l l subsequent, intervening: developments; and to view the past i n it s ; complete; potentiality and a l t e r i t y . It: requires that one overcome the f a l s i f i c a t i o n inherent i n the teleological, causal approach to history which undermines Ranke's historiography: 29 To understand antiquity and relive i t requires i n addition to copious studies! such a total adaptation, rather more? an identi-fication than an empathizing, that i t i s given to few. Antiquity i s completely different. And what one has? to do is to abstract more than 2QQQ years? and to see the future— whether bright or. dark, i t makes no difference--from their < . ~ . 170' point of view. In an argumentation which exemplifies by i t s own method that which i t i s attempting to demonstrate, EkelOf i n the same commentary goes on to Wabstraoti from" the development of Christianity which succeeded the classical world: It i s certainly true that this future? came to be "Christianity" and that Christianity to a large extent i s a transformed antiquity. But i t is? not for that reason an heir of antiquity other than very indirectly, several undetermined degrees removed. But nonetheless most of the ideas and patterns of religious behaviour which came to be those of Christianity could already be found among the ancients. But i n a different way, unaware of this future which, furthermore* " i f i t hadn't been? for ' i f ' " could have turned out entirely d i f f e r -ent* I t i s this potentiality of antiquity one has to? experience and understand; i t i s not enough to look at i t i n a kind of retro-spective lighting, a l l the while with hidden thoughts of how things f i n a l l y came to be and of what destinies we? have gone through. No, one has i n some mystical way to be i n the very middle of this? past age i n order to grasp i t , and not at a l l at Thermopylae or with Socrates but rather i n an ordinary house with i t s house altar and meagre furnishings or at an ordinary symposium- where i t wasn't; at a l l a lot of profundities that were brought forth but rather where Attic scholia- of the type reported by Athenaios were seen as quite enough. EkelOf's belief that an understanding of the classical world or of past periods of history, being i n true contact with a tradition or culture, has as i t s prerequisite an instinctive, intuitive a b i l i t y to identify with the past--the past not i n i'tss exceptional but rather i n i t s universal aspects^--and that this a b i l i t y to empathize i s not given to a l l becomes apparent from: his criticism of Artur Lundkvist's imitative, journalistic treatment of the past, as contrasted to Harry Martinson 1 a. authentic adherence to tradition: Thus Lundkvi8t imitates, perhaps without an inkling of i t — Picasso ( i n Agadir). But Picasso i s a personifier-normallzer of the myths of the Mediterranean world. In Lundkvist there are; only the remains of what he; was able to see there: the con-torted posture, the grin, the; grimace and the exceptional case. For that reason he is: a journalist. In Martinson, on the other hand, there i s a lot more, a real belonging to; tradition, i f not so: much harmony. But perhaps the beginnings of a worldwide consciousness of the same sort as that which at one time embraced the Mediterranean. They are; two types of travellers-tramps* [*and storytellers]; the reporter and thee one who empathizes; and sympathizes; the one 171 who i s basically outside and the one who is;inside. As George Steiner has; claimed with respect to Ezra Pound and i n partic-ular Pound's translations from the Chinese, the a b i l i t y to translate—in the "general sense i n which Steiner employs; the term—is not always fa c i l i t a t e d by excessive background knowledge, which tends to render the object under consideration dense and opaque, but rather that there is: a certain intuitive faculty of mimicry which i s able to; overcome: the lack of expertise: "To this one must add the; incalculable stroke of what Pound himself called 'divine accident', the f a c i l i t y , always crucial to Pound's: career, to enter into alien guise, to assume the mask and gait of other cultures. Pound's genius 172 i s largely one of mimicry and self-metamorphosis." Ingrid EkelBf has testified to EkelBfs own almost physical awareness of classical antiquity; his; feeling of contact with the dead of the classical world was so intense that at certain moments he coujd experience their; presence as a whispering or: as a slight touch of the hand, as i n the poem "Oecus" i n Vagvisare 175 t i l l under.jorden: It happens sometimes when I l i e and can't sleep on the bed with i t s ; paws off bronze, under the lamp which i s silent that I hear the slaves t a t t l i n g and whispering nearby-• • • Sometimes when I wake up from my sleep or half-sleep i t i s as i f someone had just touched me as i f someone had clumsily; tried to stroke my hand. Related to this intuitive faculty of entering into the guise of an alien culture, a faculty which EkelBf seems to have possessed with respect to the classical period, i s EkelBf's; insistence on the in e v i t a b i l i t y , the necessity of subjectivity in the creative-recreative process; and his belief i n the importance of "elective a f f i n i t y " i n the process of interpretation, translation and reading. This aspect of EkelBfs aesthetics and world view, an aspect which one would be tempted to c a l l his "theory of elective a f f i n i -t i e s , " becomes evident i n the preface to his; translations from the French poets; i n Hundra;. ar modern fransk dikt (One Hundred Years of Modern French Poetry) (1934)» where he gives as a reason for his having avoided trans-lating Valery the fact that he (EkelBf) lacks a personal a f f i n i t y for him: The fact is; that I'm convinced- that a translator—and especially a translator of foreign poetry—in order to be able to do a satis-factory job; has to have a string tuned in the same pitch as the; keynote off thee poet he i s rendering. Iff the accord i s lacking; then every attempt i s meaningless. More than anything else i t i s strong sympathy which conditions a l l recreation and a l l - -selectivity/. 1 ^ In a commentary i n EkelBfs; notebook 0 (circa 1938) under the heading "Art. om k r i t i k " (Article on criticism), one finds an exposition of the same idea 102 of elective a f f i n i t y : The person who has written literary criticism knows: a good, worthwhile a r t i c l e can hardly be written i f one i s not dealing with a book which one sympathizes with, which i s good and worth-while for one's self. A bad, unsympathetic, meaningless a r t i c l e i s rarely written about any other book than that which seems to one to be uncongenial and empty. Or indifferent, meaningless. There i s no objective l i t e r a r y criticism, at least not for me. I'm subjective and have to defend my subjectivity. George Steiner too has pointed out the importance of elective a f f i n i t y i n the process of translation: We have seen that serious understanding depends on a linguistic and cultural experiencing of resistant difference. But the tran-scendence of difference, the process of internalizing the proba-b i l i t i e s oft* non-communication, of acute doubt as to whether the thing can be done at a l l , demands Wahlverwandtschaft (elective a f f i n i t y ) . At close linguistic-cultural quarters the; translator often finds himself i n a state of recognition. The hermeneutic and praxis of his decipherment and subsequent restatement are those of mirrors and deja-vu. He has been here before he came. He has; chosen his source-text not a r b i t r a r i l y but because he i s 175 kindred to i t . Before leaving this discussion of Ekelof's; theory of elective a f f i n i t i e s and i t s ; concomitant defence of subjectivity i n a l l acts of translation (in ,. Steiner's sense), one can single out one important.similarity which i t presents; with modern physics: i t s refusal to admit the separation of the observed object from the observer and i t s repudiation of the classical notion of an objective description of things. F r i t j o f Capra has maintained that for modern physics the Cartesian notion oft a s p l i t between the observer and the observed, a notion which was the; very foundation of the belief i n an objec>-tive description of the natural world, i s no longer tenable and that instead the observer* i s seen as inextricably involved with the object of. his observations; physics has thus become—if i t was not always s o — the study of human consciousness i n interaction with nature: The human observer constitutes: the f i n a l link i n the chain of observational processes, and the properties of any atomic object can only be understood i n terms of the object's interaction with the observer. This means? that the classical ideal of an objective description of nature i s no longer v a l i d . The Cartesian partition between the I and the world, between the observer and the: observed cannot be made when dealing with atomic matter. In atomic physics, we can never speak: about nature without, at the same time, speaking about ourselves. It cannot be overemphasized that Ekelof'asview of classical antiquity makes no pretention of being i n any way a learned view of that particular cultural complex. In a letter to SjBberg concerning Molna, Ekelof stresses the fact that his "view of antiquity" (syn pa* antiken). "is-ay own personal one and not a learned view" (ar min personliga, inte nagon lard syn). A similar emphasis; i s given i n another letter to the same addressee; here Ekelof defends his right to an idiosyncratic conception of. antiquity: As far as my"studies of antiquity are concerned, they-are, of course, odd, unsystematic and based on my/ needs, not on any scie n t i f i c foundation- 0 . . Of antiquity, which reaches us only i n the form of fragments and whispers, i t i s important to have either; 1i) a personal view, 2) a stratigraphic view such as the outstanding American archeologists; otherwise one has none at a l l . 1 ? 8 Similarly, i n a letter to; Bonniers regarding his Petronius translations (tolkningar: free translations), EkelBf ju s t i f i e s his; personal, nonacademic 1 0 4 approach to antiquity by pointing to the extreme d i f f i c u l t y involved i n reconstructing past historical r e a l i t y : There are other sides of P. [PetroniusJ and of classical antiq-uity as a whole which are more interesting, but they demand a moral open-mindedhess, or rather a psychiatric-clinical interest which I can't account for either. To take the authority upon oneself i s not for me, when so much of what we "know" about; the 17' classical man is nothing but pure speculation, i t seems to me. The lack of a learned or academic knowledge of a past period of history or culture^ does not of course preclude an essential, intuitive understanding; of the subject in question, for as T. S. E l i o t has stated on the subject of Shakespeare: "Shakespeare acquired more essential history from Plutarch than the remark of Samuel Johnson on Shakespeare: "There i s a vigilance of obser-vation and accuracy of distinction which books and precepts cannot confer. . In the same way Lessihg can maintain i n his Hamburgische Dramaturgie that Shakespeare intuitively grasped more; of the essence of the Greek;: concep-tion of drama than Racine and Corneille with their rationalist bias and their overemphasis on the externals of drama, on a<rigidly applied observance of the three unities for example, could ever hope to grasp. EkeltJf's depreciation of the o f f i c i a l writers of the classical period such ass Cicero and Livius, whom he makes the butt of his criticism of Swedish Latin education, claiming that i t i s s t i l l dominated by Ciceronian 182 ideals and a l l t®o scholastic, goes hand i n hand with his enthusiasm f o r Petronius;, a copy of whose works i n the "Loeb Classical Library" edition he 18*5 claims; to; have carried with him on a l l his travels. I t i s the documen-tary quality off the fragments of Petronius, their almost archeological value, that EkelOf appreciates and contrasts favourably to the more o f f i c i a l genres most men could from the whole Br i t i s h Museum." 180 In a similar direction runs such as the i d y l l : "To a great extent these fragments often have the character of g r a f f i t i , an ephemeral character which nonetheless doesn't, prevent them from putting us i n far more direct contact with the everyday l i f e of classical antiquity than many/a carefully elaborated i d y l l . " (Dessa fragment bar ofta i hog grad en karaktar av g r a f f i t i , en efemar karaktar, som l i k v a l inte hindrar dem att satta oss i en vida direktare forbindelse med antikt vardagsliv an mangen omsorgsfullt utarbetad i d y l l . ) 1 8 ^ It: i s Ekelofs stress on the popular aspects of antique culture and daily l i f e , on what one could c a l l — u s i n g EkelBfs own term as applied to his; interest in less o f f i c i a l l y recognized! cultural manifestations; such as cookbooks: and diaries—the "antiaesthetic" aspects of that particular cultural complex as the means of penetration, access or identification available to the 185 20th century observer which i s here significant. The odor Adorno has given an excellent insight into the problem of tradition and culture when he maintains: that a "true" relationship to tradition, at least for the unavoidably "sentimental" writer, i.e. the writer who no longer possesses; that unreflected attitude to tradition which i s the real sign of an immediate contact with the past, is;one which perhaps necessarily focuses on those neglected "shadow" aspects:; of the cultural past instead of on the great cultural artifacts erected as examples of "timeless" art by public cultural institutions: Wo die Idiosynkrasie gegen Yergangenes sich automatisiert hat, wie Ibsen oder Wedekind gegenuber, straubt sie sich gegen das in solchen Autoren, was unerledigt blieb, geschichtlich nicht sich entfaltete oder, wie die Emanzipation der Prau, bloss; brttchig. In derlei Idiosynkrasien stBsst man auf das wahrhafte Thema der Besinnung auf Tradition, das am Weg liegen Gebliebene, Vernachlassigte, Besiegte, das unter dem Namen des Veraltens sich zusammenfasst. Dort sucht das Lebendige der Tradition Zuflucht, nicht im Bestand von Werken, die da der Zeit trotzen sollen. Dem souveranen tlberblick des Historismus, i n dem der Aberglaube ans Hnvergangliche und die eifrige Angst vorm Altmodisenen fa t a l sich verschranken, entgeht es, Nach dem1 Lehendigen deri* Werke i s t i h ihremi Inneren zu suchen; nach Schichten, die i n frttheren Phasen verdeckt waren und erst sich manifestieren, wenn andere absterben und abfallen. In the programme for a f r u i t f u l history education which he presents at the end of hiss essay "Var traditionsloshet," Ekelbf cites the presentation of the sexual mores of the past as one of the means by which a real sense of the past can be conveyed. Ingrid Ekelof has? confirmed EkelOf s particular fascination for erotica, for "det saftigaste av antik sedehistoria." From a more?specifio point?: of' view, Ekelofs opposition to what he considers to be the? f a l s i f i c a t i o n of history i n the style of Winckelmann manifests i t s e l f frequently i n a criticism of the puritanical treatment of classical erotica i n modern cultural institutions. He writes thus i n a draft for an article on the theme of Latin education (capsule 'K' 'Kommentarer', "After the Latin debate" [Efter latindebatten ] ): "The f a l s i f i c a t i o n of history. The f a l l a -ciousness of our conceptions of 'classical' antiquity, ditto of Christianity etc. Ethical norms and blinkers with which our image of the classical world has?been oversimplified and even f a l s i f i e d . " (Historieforfalskningen. F e l -aktigheten 1 vara begrepp om den 'klassiska' antiken, d:o om kristendomen etc. Moralbud och skygglappar med vilka var klassiska b i l d fbrenklats och rent av lBgnats? ner. ) In the same way i n a notebook entry dealing with his impressions on rereading Heidenstam's novel Hans Alienus, he c r i t i c i z e s the latter's prudish treatment of classical antiquity: Reread my youth's Hans Alienus but only cursorily. As Strindberg said: a symphony of bombast. Yet i t contains a l o t , despite the 107 sick elements. . . . But as far. as: Greece, Rome? etc. are concerned, he holds? on to: Winckelmann's; point off view. And 187 the Vatican f i g ; leaves; are neatly i n place?. Anyone who i s familiar with the Victorianism of standard classical diction-188 aries cannot f a i l to recognize the va l i d i t y of EkelBfs criticism. Eke-l B f s?attitude towards;the; erotic, towards human sexuality, i s beat charac-terized, as are so many other aspects of his? thought, as a balancing between 189 two; extremes* In a notebook entry/ (notebook AW 1964) on the topic; sexu-al i t y - r e l i g i o n , for example, he expresses; his; belief that E r o s — i n the global sense i n which Freud used the? term—lies behind mankind's religious represen-tations, i.e. that religion i s a sublimation or projection off Eros: Religiosity i s therefore? a projection, flower or f r u i t , what with a boring term i s called sublimation. Below that and as; a prerequisite there i s the. humus, the; growing power, the instincts, lust. He-who denies the? sexual doesn't stand nature?'s test when i t comes to; the inherently divine. He becomes a theologian, a dogmatist, a fanatic. He who overemphasizes the? sexual also has a?, s t e r i l i t y within himself. This same idea of religion as a sublimation or projection of human desires i s taken up by EkelBf i n an unpublished Petronius? commentary with special reference to Petronius' line "sed s i b i quisque f a c i t " and to his fragment XXVII: "It was fear which f i r s t invented the; gods of the; world"—the poet touches here on a well-known notion i n the history of r e l i -gion—but now everyone i s busy fabricating gods to satisfy their own needs, gods which one can put the blame on or with which one i * . 190 can excuse; oneself. This? well-known train of thought goes hack, principally to the philos-ophy of Ludwig Feuerbach, whose influence on such writers as; Gottfried Keller and Jens Peter Jacobsen i s well-documented. Feuerbach taught that even theology was a product of the human s p i r i t and that God was nothing but the essence of man, reified and made absolute, perceived and honoured by man as an independent being. Central to Feuerbach's thought was the belief that such a projection of human desires onto an ultimate being, such a schism between the here and the beyond, diverted man from the here and now 191 and was thus pernicious* y The influence of Feuerbach's thought i n this respect on that of Marx i s thus f a i r l y obvious. EkelOf could have become acquainted with Feuerbach's thought closer to home through J. P. Jacobsen's superb novel Niels Lyhne. for which the German materialist's views on r e l i -gion played a decisive role. One can observe EkelOf's position between the extremes of a denial of sexuality-an overemphasis on sexuality i n his defence of Petronius against the charge of being a mere pornographer; on the one hand he i s c r i t i c a l of the Victorian attitude which has falsely placed! Petronius on the Index1: and f a l s i f i e d him, while on the other hand he: i s eager to stress Petronius:' moral qualities:; Unfortunately Petronius has been put into the shade—this has occurred as a result of propaganda with slow but sure effects; which has placed him on the Index, denied him any ethical moti-vations, imputed: to him an empty, superficial and meaningless elegance which he doesn't have, and made him into the pornographer 192 which he i s not according to cultural-historical c r i t e r i a . The Antiaesthetic and "Over>-refinement's Homesickness for Naivete"; The Poetic Document and the "GesamtkunstwerkV Iha an unpublished piece of prose dealing with the concept of history, EkelBf'ss insistence on the value of the concrete, the documentary as an alternative to the distortions of the o f f i c i a l representation of history with i t s tendency to idealize and romanticize becomes evident: The; Nordic Museum with" a l l i t s knickknacks of patriotic curiosities i s a r e l i c of Oscarian mead-horn f a l s i f i c a t i o n . Build a kitchen from the 1700*s and l e t people s i t down in i t . Make a salon—and not just one with nothing but rarities;* and showpieces—and equip i t with a sound background of ghostlike, half lethargic chitchat. Let the credible; r e l i c work, as an i l l u s t r a t i o n , as one? that i s really l i f e l i k e . Let the v i s i t o r sample the salty food and that which i s nearly rancid, the hard-to-chew bread (two batches a year). EkelBf a; claim that a sense of the past can best be transmitted via the commonplace, concrete details of a particular pefciod can hardly be dissoci-ated from his own personal taste for certain "naive" cultural manifestations as diaries, travel journals, cookbooks• and Almqvist's spelling-primer (^afitt-stavnihgslara), a l l those marginally aesthetic or "antiaesthetic" cultural artifacts which EkelBf i s able to conceive o f as poetic. That EkelBf had a highly developed sense of the poetic value of the document is; perhaps best exemplified by/the following statement i n a notebook dated "1941" (capsule •Sent pa jorden 1): "I have been a poet and regard poems above a l l as docu-ments and documents as poetic." (Jag har ju varit poet och anser poem fram-\194 fBr a l l t som dokument och dokument som poetiska.) It i s perhaps one o f the paradoxes of modern Swedish literature that two such cerebral writers as Lars Gyllensten and Gunnar EkelBf have both been drawn towards the marginally aesthetic and that both have become? masters of "abtrunt" (rubbish); both are representative of what one could c a l l , using:EkelBf 1s own formulation, "over-refinement's homesickness for naivete" (Bverkulturens hemlangtan t i l l naiviteten). J J EkelBf has written about his taste- for "anti-art" i n the essay "Banalitetens framsida^' (Banal-ity's Obverse) i n Blandade kort, where he cites Proust as one of his prede-cessors i n this vein. I t i s certainly not d i f f i c u l t to find passages i n Proust which illustrate the: author-narrator's surfeit with regard to overly cultivated art forms. Both for Proust and for EkelBf i t i s the emotional, investment underlying the popular consumer's appropriation of such t r i v i a l art forms which lends them a certain dignity and v a l i d i t y , not the object, per se; the emphasis i s thus rather sociological and psychological than strictly aesthetic. Appropriately enough, i t i s Edith SBdergran's inclina-tion for certain forms of popular artb which EkelBf takes note of when in an essay on her l i f e and art he associates her taste; for cheap art reproductions: i n illustrated magazines with the poem "Ingenting;", a direct quote from which he has placed near the end of En MBlna-Elegi (5 8 . 7 0 6 - 7 1 1 ) : In SBdergran's room i n Baivola simple art reproductions taken from cheap Christmas magazines or weeklies were pasted up on the bulging wallpaper. In other instances too SBdergran has shown a certain predilection for what one could c a l l commonplaces: i n the visual world of the time, and Titian's painting:was i n a sense one of them even i f i t was only a work of the time from the point of view of the reproduction. This i s no weakness on her part, for she often uses these frequently humble, popular illustrations to the theme of mankind's timeless Sunday dream: of paradise, the dream of "boundless b l i s s , " i n order to contrast them with other images of the shabbihess of daily human conditions and of the hopeless>-ness of mankind"s struggle. "A bluer sky and a wall with roses or a palm tree and a balmier wind" from "Nothing" i s completely i n keeping with the ideal of decoration and i l l u s t r a t i o n held at the time, such as i t can he found represented i n restaurant dining rooms or short story magazines.1*5 Central to both EkelBf s? estimation of the documentary and of less e l i t i s t forms of art i s his phenomenological approach to; art altogether and his awareness of the fact: that the distinction between "art" and "non-art" i s merely one of cultural conventions and not an absolute and objective quality of the objects i n question. This becomes most obvious i n an essay i n Blandade kort: We shouldn't forget that what we regard as literary art i s only based on a convention which i s constantly being revised. . . . And he: who i s carried along by this anonymous; element which some c a l l the feeling for l i f e and others personality—be he a writer or a reader, a gardener or a fisherman—he i s free like the Japanese to see beautiful art -in a stone which the sea has sculpturedl or poetry i n the offers of a flower catalogue. It i s only the art-Philistines who believe that art necessarily has to be something which i s done according:to the academic rules. . , . ^ This same acute awareness of the fact that "art" i s not only to> be identic fied with those dead cultural artifacts which the cultural institutions have erected as such; but that i t can be any natural object for: which we are capa-ble of summoning uf the lyricism necessary to be able to see i t as art can be encountered i n another commentary i n EkelBfs hand: There are extremely beautiful things which no one has ever presen-ted as art and which for that reason have been regarded for the most part as curiosities, for example machines; i n which thirty years ago no one would have thought of seeing any beauty. A thing becomes? a "work of art" only when someone thinks of confronting i t , of going to meet i t with the desire to understand i t as such, of summoning up a certain lyricism in order to see the beauty in it» Highly cultivated nations such as the Chinese and Japanese have ^ realized this; long before us,: The last Chinese emperor had a large collection of curiously shaped natural objects. In Japan people paid large sums for beautiful pebble-stones. The sculptor Brancusi i s one of those who at the present time i s attempting to create similar art. His endeaxours'are completely just i f i e d . I t would i n fact be completely justifiable i f a beau-t i f u l snow-covered1 mountain or a beautiful ocean beach were to fetch just as good a price as a Michelangelo or a Raphael or whatever they are called. As; far as that goes, they (the former) should fetch a higher price. With time Norway w i l l become an extremely valuable land. Let us be thankful that we live i n an age where we can s t i l l enjoy such aesthetic values as good as 198 free of charge. y Although i t i s also possible; to read i t as a kind of epiphany i n the style of Zen or of the secular "mystics" Proust and Joyce, EkelBf fs poem "Souvenir du Mariage de l a Suede aux Pays de Chine" (a section of "Den gamle super-kargflren" [The Old Supercargo] i n the collection Non serviam) can also be read as an exemplification of the above aesthetic attitude: the act of drawing water from <twoedifferent springs i s given ithe dignity ef art. Like the Oriental poets who experienced the profound truth of the gesture of drawing water from a spring or the; Zen; Buddhist satori which occurs while performing? the most t r i v i a l gestures of everyday l i f e and i s an epiphany resulting from an immediate contact with things, the poet here also undergoes a mystical epiphany. I t i s perhaps not without significance that EkelBf i n a poem entitled "Tattenprov" (Water Tests) i n Om hBsten can identify the art of poetry with the drawing of water from a spring: 113 Then I said to myself: The only poets I care? about are those who with nervous hands carefully carry a bowl f u l l of blood into; which a drop of milk; has fal l e n or a bowl f u l l of milk into; which a drop of blood has fal l e n . • . Now I have seen, now I want to see; the; tight: grip on a brimful bowl of spring water. An entry/ i n Ekelof's early Cahier I from the Sent pa .jor.den period shows; that the poet's interest i n the; "antiaesthetic" or marginally aesthetic, i n less; e l i t i s t forms of art was i n no way a later development i n his aesthetic views, even; though i t may have gained i n emphasis; as i n a l l other respects one- must ins i s t here on the continuity which characterizes EkelBf's author-ship: Of the art which we have become?accustomed to c a l l romantic, I have come more and more to like; the simple, that which has lost i t s ; eclat and become; banal. That which i s called bad taste has some-thing endlessly moving: and beautiful about i t , since i t has; lost a l l pretentions of being art. I've become tired of everything which i s presented as the last word i n art.. '. . Torvaldsenis [sic] Christ i s movingly "beautiful on the wall of a simple room with easy chairs and a sewing machine. Coloured illustrations from The Joy of Christmas. Jules Verne, Marryat, detective novels.,., . 199 That this same aesthetics of the antiaesthetic did not lack i t s relevance for En MBlna-Elegi i s shown by a note i n one of the drafts to the poem which reads (folder ' j ' ) : "Trelawny-detective novels / Wallenberg / Marryat Cooper / Woodehouse [sic] Jules Verne" (Trelawny detektivromaner / 114 Wallenberg / Marryat Cooper / Woodehouse Jules Verne;) • How closely EkelBf associated his attraction to the; marginally aesthetic, among other things to lett e r , memoir, diary and travel journal writers such as Bernhard von Beskow, Ewa Lewin, Madame de Sevigne—to- name only a few of those who have contributed to the collage of quotations which i s En MBlna- E l e g i — , to; his conception of history and as an element thereof his opposition to the traditional scholastic treatment of history as a study of battles and dates, "causality" and great men, becomes apparent from statements such as the following: The dead and their experiences, the universally human and every-day, are ouzr memory, seen historically[.] What do I care about dates or the boots;of the Swedish kings? Thus I turn to; what has been written i n books of letters, memoirs and diaries;by simple, ordinary people, to their everyday l i f e or „ . 200 Sunday. Like many other poems i n the open-form, the Elegy reads like an assem-blage of apparently randomly selected elements, elements chosen almost more for their documentary value than for any other reason. The result i s a kind 201 of eclectic, documentary "Gesamtkunstwerk." Two early commentaries in d i -cate; that EkelBf at an early stages of his; development had a positive appraisal of the; idea of a "Gesamtkunstwerk," or "universalkonst" (universal art fbrm)-"blandad ferns*" (mixed art form) i n his own terminology. This "universal-konst" founded on a free movement between the various normally distinct art forms i s seen as analogous to the flux of l i f e i t s e l f , to the interconnected-ness of a l l things: In daily l i f e everything has of course associations with every-thing else; everything i s connected. Not only sounds have associ-ations with sounds, thoughts with thoughts: i n that case the uni-verse would be shattered into an endless number of categories 115 This repudiation on principle of mixed art forms which nowa-days appears to he i n good taste i s odd. I can accept that from a practical point of view i n most cases; hut,., every emotional experience in l i f e i s nonetheless practically conditioned by this free movement between the art forms. An a r t i s t whose soul i s closed to one of them must very l i k e l y have somej defect as an a r t i s t and the person who i s only capa-ble of one thing unavoidably turns into an Arnold Ljungdal. But even i f for practical reasons the art forms are prohibited! from coming together and fusing i n a single one^ , practically t they nonetheless do so on our inner stager . • I t i s i n the essay "Konsten och l i v e * " that EkelBfs interest i n the idea of a "universalkonst" obtains i t most systematic formulation; here EkelBf views; the insistence; on the purity of the individual art form, on i t s ; i s o l a -tion from any other art forms, as proof of the sclerosis of form1 which charac-terizes art once i t loses; contact with l i f e , with "livsinnehall," and becomes aestheticism. EkelBfs positive evaluation of "universalkonst," of which he sees; Rimbaud--the Rimbaud of the; "Lettre du voyant" who: had written: "Cette langue sera de l'ame pour l'ame, rfisumant tout, parfums, sons, couleurs 203 . • ." ~as one of the f i r s t advocates, i s motivated by his belief that only such a movement between the art forms can; enable aorfc to; maintain i t s contact with: the source of l i f e and to; sustain a productive interplay of formi and content. I t i s such a mixture of the art forms i n "universalkonst!' which allows art to retain a necessary "konkretion" (concreteness): On,the. other hand concreteness i s reponsible. for perspective i n painting, for the programme, i.e. the literary stamp, i n music. On the whole a l l concrete art strives to fuse with other art to produce i n the richest combination something: which borders on the universal art form. This universal art form which has; been a dream since time 116: immemorial and has perhaps attained i t s utopia—outside off.' l i t e r a t u r e — i n the opera, aims at becoming; a. simultaneous symphonic mixture of a l l sensory, emotional and intellectual delights. In other words i t resembles to a bewildering extent l i f e such as every man desires; i t should be; l i f e freed from the greyness and monotony of daily existence; l i f e i n a l l i t s for-bidden wealth of feelings, instincts, p o s s i b i l i t i e s , dreams; l i f e i n freedom, f i l l e d with a l l that which conventions and the st e r i l i z e d humanity which goes under the name of morality, the state and religion have suppressed, banished to the night and to silence. In this very fantastic utopia: the universal art form, the goal of art's evolution can be dreamt of: i t s identi-fication with l i f e . 2 0 ^ Because of i t s Rimbaidian idealism one may view EkelBf's; programmatic exposition of h i s views on the "Gesamtkunstwerk" i n the above passage with a certain amount of scepticism, but even what has; to be a later commentary i n EkelBfs hand demonstrates; the poet's interest i n i i f not entirely unmixed feelings towards, that particular a r t i s t i c utopia. Here EkelBf s scepticism towards the notion of a "Gesamtkunstwerk" i s certainly more pronounced hut i t seems; to be based more on a; realization o f the impracticability of such an art form given the overspecialization off the particular a r t i s t working i n a particular medium than on a complete refusal of the notion per set Art i s something; whole and indivisible. I believe for example that the; reason why there; are so many insignificant composers i s that they have an undeveloped taste as regards painting and l i t e r -ature. They are? too specialized, they are "Pachidioten." How often can't one t e l l this by looking at their choice of romance texts (not even to speak of the treatment) and what can one say about that Scheusal of a "Gesamtkunstwerk," the romantic opera. The same i s true of painters, who often have a childish i f not a spiteful attitude towards "literature," towards that which they think i s literature. The same i s true of poets who are so 117 unmusical that they for example transpose the~> sonnet form to languages whose natural melody i t doesn't suit. Or who) i n the tinkling of rhymes see the one and only b l i s s . There is; no question of there ever being a "Gesamtkunstwerk." But one would li k e to see works which have been made: by art i s t s who; have a. versatile sensibility and which would be received by a public with an all-round culture* But for God's sake spare us from the outset such terms as "Gesamtkttnstler." To be an a r t i s t with ver s a t i l i t y of sensibility does not mean that one should be able to compose, be able to paint i h order to: be able to; write. On the other hand one ought to be able to express; oneself' with v e r s a t i l i t y 205 within one's limited medium. y The interest i n the; documentary, i n the; poetic value of the documentary l i e s behind Ekelof's quote from the epigraphist C. M. Kaufmann i n the note which closes; the Elegy: "'Die Inschriften sind nicht Denkmaler der Literatur, sondern? dea Lebens!'" Just aa; he: has chosen to retain "the often grotesque spelling and syntax" (den ofta groteska stavningen och syntaxen) of the vulgar Latin texta i h the Latin section of the; poem, Ekelof has conserved Swedenborg's 18th century spelling and syntax i n his two long: direct quotes from the latter's DrBmboken. In both cases i t i s a definite concern: for the documentary authenticity of the subject matter i n question—in defiance of a l l eventual charges of preciosity—which has:motivated the author's choice of text. The use of on the one hand a highly demotic Latin text, on the other hand of a Swedish text which even i n Per Erik Wahlund's modernization from 1964 poses: considerable d i f f i c u l t i e s for the uninitiated reader, since i t possesses; a grammar which i s often more paratactic than hypotactic, i s off course well designed to provoke the protests of the c r i t i c s ihsiatent on complete; i n t e l l i g i b i l i t y . I t seems; to; be Ekelof's almost archeo-logical concern; for the integrity of the text from the past, the text whose archaic spelling and syntax i s a guarantee of i t s : authenticity, which has I 1 0 motivated the author's "preciosity." EkelBfs archeological emphasis on the documentary value of the original spelling and syntax becomes evident i n his critique of Per Erik Wahlund's unfortunate modernization of Sweden-borg's text i n a review written for BLM (1953): In the f i r s t place he [wahlund] has f e l t himself.' called upon to; normalize Swedenborg's "barbaric spelling and punctuation." It may well be barbaric or primitive, but i n my opinion to do so i s to deprive the original of a certain amount of it's charm, a charm; characteristic of the1 period, and, without any comparison i n other respects, that i s a procedure of the same sort as when the; Vatican curators took their old chaps and without grasping the antique skin treatment which certain marble statues must have had at one time polished them up, presumably wearing them down several essential millimetres.^^ Helen; Gardner i n her criticism of Eliot's Four Quartets has taken exception to Eliot's use of the archaic spelling and syntax i n his quote from Thomas Elyot's The Governour i n the f i r s t section of East Coker: The dancing figures round the; bonfire are described in words taken from Sir Thomas Elyot's The Governour", where he praises dancing as a type of matrimony. The archaic spelling calls attention to the quotation, which, though apt i n a poem dealing with the poet's; ancestor's, seems to me a l i t t l e precious. The passage i n question reads: The association of man and woman In daunsinge, signifying matrimonie— A dignified and commodiois sacrament. Two and two, necessarye coniunction, Holding eche other by the; hand or arm Which betokeneth. concorde. One: finds i t rather hard to subscribe to Gardner:' 3 appraisal of the Elyot; quote;: i n condemning the use of the; quote as affected!, the c r i t i c seems to; be engaging:: i n a kind of preciosity of her own, while ignoring that almost documentary, archeological element of reprise which marks so many/modern poems* Nor did EkelBf? find the; passage "precious," for i n a letter of 6 May 1941 to; Georg Svensson of Bonniers; regarding translation problems connected with his translation of? East Coker into Swedish he i n d i -cates hiss intention of? rendering the archaic English with 17th or 18th century Swedish: " I shall replace the Chaucer spelling i n section I with 17th-18th century Swedish, the only possibility, since; earlier usage would lead to incomprehensibility." (Chaucer-stavningen i I ersatter jag med svenskt 16-1700-tal, den enda mBjliga, da tidigare sprakbruk skulle fBra t i l l obegrip-lighet.) The; result of EkelBf's translation endeavours i s his curiously "Swedenborgian" but rather effective rendering: fBrbundet mellan man och kvinna i j Dantz, w i l l saija vthi. Hionelag— et tftckeligit och wardigit Sacrament. Tva och tva, een allom nBdhig; Paar-Lek aff Makar, hand i hand och arm i arm, 209 hwilkett beteknar Eenxghet. The Problem of Unity: The Elegy as an Open-Porm! The publication:; of large portions of En MBlna-Elegi i n various; Swedish li t e r a r y journals over a i period off many years* EkelBf's: established reputa-tion i n Sweden as an a r t i s t of f i r s t importance and the; author's; own commen-taries: to; the; already published fragments? of the poem as well as his exposi-tion of plans; for i t s : continuation must a l l have contributed to; what has been called by one c r i t i c the "legend" off MBlna. Thus the: Swedish poet and c r i t i c Karl Vennberg could write on the day before? the o f f i c i a l issue of the poem: "It"s? not every week that a c r i t i c i s given the task of writing about a poetry collection which has already become a legend." (Bet intraffar inte varje vecka att en kr i t i k e r s t a l l s infBr uppgiften att skriva. om en 210' diktsamling som redan: har hunnit b l i en legend.) Given the: excessive expectations of Swedish readers and c r i t i c s , i t was perhaps inevitable that many should experience the poem i n i t s "definitive" form, that is? with not a great deal off material beyond what had already been issued! as fragments i n various journals; as somewhat of an anticlimacffi. Artur Lundkviat's generally negative appraisal off the work: i n Stockholms-Tidningen i s representative of this latter attitude: Already in"the>early 4 0 ' s Gunnar EkelBf published fragments of A MBlna Elerey. But only now i s this work available, iff not comple-ted! at least turned over to its? readers. . . . In the process? i t deprives i t s e l f of some: of the legendary halo which came to: sur-round i t . . . . But I doubt! that this poem contains? the great 211 experience which was expected. At the end of his disparaging review, Lundkvist laments the fragmentariness of the Elegy, i t s lack: off composition and unity: A MBlna Elegy gives? the impression off being ai great poem i n i t s conception and aims but f a i l s i n the execution. It: grasps? for magic but loses i t s e l f i n fragmentariness, i n a casualness which disperses rather thannlibei;a?ting. The symbolism peeps? out mocking-ly only to disappear. EkelBf i s unable to raise his process off petrification, his sense of l i v i n g death up to a unified vision. 212 The result, i s something broken, a poetry i n ruins?. , . It i s curious to note that T. S. E l i o t should employ the same term "ruins" .121 to? characterize the fragmentary, open structure; of his own poem The Waste  Land (line 4 3 0 ) : "These fragments I have shored against my/ruins." That one may attribute the open structure; of EkelBf s poem to a mere; insufficien-cy? of the a r t i s t , aa; Lundkvist suggested, i s disproven by such factors as; the intentional associativeness which EkelBf viewed as one of the effects^— effects on the reader—which he waa trying to achieve. Sverker Ek? i n his? important essay on En MBlna-Elegi? (see bibliography) has? stressed the fact that EkelBf found i n his "musical conception: of poe?try" (musikaliska uppfattningen av dikt) the aesthetic solution to? the? problem of how to; lend the?"compositionless" open-form nonetheless a certain struc-21 3 ture. This view seems indeed to be confirmed to a certain extent by a more general assertion made by EkelBf i n a note i h his notebook E (from the early 30's): "Word-music: / which gives the; meaningless poem / a meaning / regularity." (Ordmusiken / som ger den?meningslBsa dikten / en mening / regelbundenheten.) One cannot, however, subscribe completely to Ek's solu-tion of the problem of unity i h the Elegy by recurrence to the traditional but nonetheless rather dubious concept of "musical structure," for i t i s , as Ekbert Faas?has maintained i n respect to the open-form?of The Waste Land, a; kind of emergency exit for those c r i t i c s who are unwilling or incapable of confronting the open structure on i t s own terms and f a l l back on the traditional concept of "organic unity," of which the idea of musical struc-ture? seems to be a. convenient but inadequate appendix. That Efers s t i l l dominated by the desire to uncover some kind of "organ-i c unity" behind the apparent chaos of the open structure which i s En Mblina  Elegi i s further evidenced by the fact that he resorts to the equally dubious thesis whereby the poem's l y r i c a l " I " (jag) despite a l l the contingency and complexity which characterizes i t would constitute the unifying;; principle of the poem* a b i t i h the same fashion as E l i o t i n his notes to the poem has: 1.22 recourse to Tiresias as; the focal point of The Waste Land, Ekr. writes in: this respect: "The: ego's nucleus, which at the same time listens passively and participates actively, turns:; out to be the organic unity which i s present i n the accidental and momentary. Despite i t s amorphic outlines i t i s the unifying principle of the poem?s structure." (Jagets karna, pa en gang passivt lyssnande och aktivt: medverkande, b l i r den organiska enhet som finns i i det slumpmSssiga? och t i l l f a l l i g a . Den: bliir trots s i t t amorfa grunddrag den overgripande principen i diktens uppbyggnad.) If we understand by "organic unity" a unifying principle which i s concretely anchored i n the? determinate? code or system: of signs which i s the poem or text, then we have to admit that this " I " as: Ek defines i t i i s i h no way materially given; i t i s rather the result—one of. an i n f i n i t e number of equally valid reader, respon-ses—of the interplay between the objective stimulus of the poem; and the purely open structure? of one particular reader's subjectivity. I f we accept Ek.'s argumentation, we are: confronted with an?unavoidable contradiction: i f the unity o f the? work i s , as Eke claims, "organic," i t has to? be anchored i n the concrete fact which iss the text, i.e. there has to be a verifiable, con-crete orientation, represented by the signs of the text, which allows the reader to? establish or reconstruct the? consistency of the work despite its; apparent amorphousness; at the same time, however, EkJs analysis presupposes; that the reader approach the " I " of the? poem as a kind of f i c t i o n a l charac-ter or Ekeldfian alter ego and that he be able to. accept and eventually overcome the inconsistencies of the? poem, at least by referring them a l l to this central " I . " But the latter implies a sort of phenomenology of the reader's role which seems to overburden the activity of the reader and under-mine the idea of an "organic unity." The supposed explanation i s thus self-contradictory. Of course the act of reading can be nothing else besides just such a more or less contingent interplay between the objectively given signs? 125 of! the text and the reader's subjectivity, for as even such a formalist c r i t i c ass Cleanth Brooks with; his emphasis on the text as artifact has to; admit: "Moreover, the formalist c r i t i c knows as well as anyone that l i t e r -ary works are merely potential u n t i l they are read—that i s , that they are?recreated i n the minds of actual readers, who vary enormously i n their 21 5 capabilities, their interests, their prejudices, their ideas." Hugh Kenner i n an essay on E l i o t makes; a remark concerning the latter's Pruf-rock which seems to have some relevance to; the problem under discussion and could well serve as a rebuttal of a l l attempts to establish the unity of the?' poem through: recourse to the notion that the poem's "I"—be there such a thing—can be viewed5 as a kind of fi c t i o n a l character: J. Alfred Prufrock i s a name plus:a Voice. He isn't a "oharacter" cut out of the rest of the universe and equipped with a history and a l i t t l e necessary context, l i k e the speaker of a Browning monologue. We have no? information about him whatever. . . . Nor i s he; an Everyman, surrounded by poetic effects: the range of "treatment" i s excessive. Everyman's mind doesm't teem with a l l u -sions to Hesiod, Hamlet, Lazarus, Palstaff, entomology, eschatology, John the Baptist, mermaids. What Prufrock i s , i s the name of a possible zone- of consciousness where these materials can maintain a vague congruity; no more than that; certainly not a person. You are? not i n allowing their intermodulations to echo; i n your mind, deepening your apprehension of an imagined! character, such as? Ham»-l e t , or discerning his boundaries; Prufrock i s strangely boundless; one doesn't affirm at a given point with certainty, "Here i s where , his knowledge would have stopped," or "These are subtleties to which he would not have aspired." Like the thing you look at when you raise your eyes from this page, he i s the center of a f i e l d of consciousness, rather yours than his: a focussing of the reader's attention, i n a world made up not of cows and stones but of lit e f f -216 ary "effects" and memories;prompted by words. 1.24 On the other hand the refusal of the notion of "organic unity" with; respect to En MBlna-Elegi does not imply the other extreme of complete formlessness or chaos* As Umberto Eco has made clear i n his hook on the open-form Opera aperta, there i s a sense i n which every work- of li t e r a r y art i s on-the one hand "open," on the other hand structured and closed. Every/ work of art possesses what Eco calls i t s own " f i e l d of suggestive-ness" (campo di suggestivita) and no matter how traditional and anchored i n a stable world view i t may be (La Divina Commedia being the ideal example), i t s t i l l possesses; a certain openness i n that i t always leaves room for an in f i n i t e number of repetitions of the continually varying process of consump-tion or "fruition" (fruizione) as Eco designates i t : "Openness i a therefore, from this point of view, the condition of every aesthetic f r u i t i o n and every enjoyable [fruibile] form as far as i t i s endowed with aeathetic value i s •open.' I t i s so, as we have seen, even when the a r t i s t aims at aneuneaquiv-ocal and unambiguous communication." (L'apertura- quindi e, sotto questo aspetto, l a condizione d i ogni fruizione estetica e ogni forma fr u i b i l e i n quanto; dotata d i valore estetico ve "aperta". Lo'e, come s i e visto, anche 217 quando l ' a r t i s t a nrdra. a una communicazione univoca e non ambigua.) jiM^the same time, a completely structureless work of art i s inconceivable and a contradiction i n terms, since disorder only signifies against a. background of order. There i s , to continue the summary of Eco's thought, a threshold beyond which disorder or chaos ceases to be "informative" and a r t i s t i c . In other words, there i s a1 necessary suggestiveness inherent i n any true; work of art so; long as i t i s not the most banal example of completely referential' prose, and yet every suggestiveness i s an "oriented suggestiveness" (sugges-tione orientata)• Thus every work; has aspects of openness and closure and the terms "open-form" and "closed form" are relative and not absolute? con-cepts. 125 Another aspect of the problem of unity i n the Elegy/ can be insisted upon: the problem of EkelBf 1s supposedly evolving conception of the: poem over the 23 years during which he worked on i t . Ek stresses the fact that the f i r s t and oldest parts of the poem are essentially l y r i c a l i n quality and more openly rhetorical, whereas the sections composed later on have a more documentary, epic and associative quality: "One seems to observe a dis-placement from pure l y r i c poetry towards an epic Odyssey, which i s entirely in keeping with the previously cited change from lyrical, f i c t i o n to the l i t e r -ary 'document.'" (Man tycker sig kunna iaktta en fBrskijutning; fran central-l y r i k t i l l episk: odysse, som ligger helt i l i n j e med den redan papekade fBrandringen fran lyrisk: f i k t i o n t i l l l i t t e r a r t "dokument".)218 Par HellstrBm i n his dissertation on EkelBf's; "Strountes poetry" (Strountesdiktning) mentions br i e f l y the problem of unity of composition in En MBlna-Elegi. His emphasis i s on EkelBf's: revision of his aesthetic views: towards a poetics of the; "antiaesthetic" during the 5 0 's and the impact that this revision had on the "work i n progess?' En MBlna-Elegi: the interest in musically orchestrated works i n the grand format gave place to an interest in the less polished, the purposefully incomplete, fragmentary and associa-tive-suggestive. The result of this development i n the poet's aesthetics was, according to HellstrBm, the rupture between the? essentially l y r i c a l quality of the: poem's beginning and the merely associative, documentary character of the last sections to: be completed, in particular such elements as the use of vulgar Latin g r a f f i t i . HellstrBm stresses the; chaotic effect that this revised conception of art had on the structure of the: poem as a whole: The d i f f i c u l t i e s which EkelBf had i n completing A MBIna Elegy can very well be thought to be due to the form i n which the great 126 poem had been?, conceived and which was now experienced as inappro-priate or out-of-date. The richly orchestrated and many-sided composition gave way to a poetry of the unpolished and purely suggestive. . . . The fragmentary and chaotic impression that A MBlna Elegy makes appears i n this light to be unavoidable. During the decades during which the poem came into being, Ekelof came to revise his views on art. In the published version the two methods of compo-sitio n which the poet struggled with during the lengthy period of composition clash with each other. In this respect the Elegy i s an unusually t e l l i n g testimonial to the changes i h his? conception 219 of art. y In. view off EkelBf s? very early interest in such aspects of poetry as the "charm of the indistinct" and his refusal of an a l l too s t r i c t and academic approach to the problem of unity (witness his defence of The Red Room against 220 the charge of having; no unity ), i t i s only with reservations that one can accept HellstrBm's view that EkelBfs aesthetic views underwent a radical revision and that the result of this revision can be seen i n the "chaotic" effect which En MBlna-Elegi makea. HellstrBm ,s insistence on the importance of unity as an a r t i s t i c criterion i s a l l the more surprising coming from a c r i t i c who has demonstrated an acute awareness of those very same aspects of 221 EkelBfs aesthetics which motivated his use of the open-form. The obsession of contemporary academic criticism with the problem of unity seems to be an attitude least l i k e l y to give an adequate representa-tion of the essence of modern open-form poetry such as Eliot's The Waste  Land, Ezra Pound's Cantos, William Carlos Williams' Paterson or? Gunnar Eke-l B f s En MBlna-Elegi. With his formalist c r i t i c ' s credo of 1951, Cleanth Brooks can serve as an example of the c r i t i c who? demonstrates an excessive concern? for? problems of unity when he? writes "That the primary concern of criticism 1? i s with the problem off unity—the kind of whole which the literary 1 2 7 work forms or f a i l s to form, and the relation of the various parts to each 222 other i n building up; this; whole." This concept of "organic unity," as the Princeton Encyclopedia of Poetry and Poetics indicates, goes; back as far as Plato's dialogue Phaedrus, where Socrates develops the concept i n 223 his discussion of the ideal discourses Well, there i s one point at least which I think you: w i l l admit, namely that any discourse ought to be constructed like a living; creature, with i t s : own body, as; i t were; i t must not lack; either head or feet; i t must have; a middle and extremities so composed 224 as to suit each other and the whole work. Socrates speaks further of bringing "a dispersed plurality under a single 225 form, seeing i t a l l together." The incapacity of such a;, concept as "organic unity" to deal effectively with certain l i t e r a r y forms, a l l the way from classical Greco-Roman l i t e r a -ture i t s e l f to Montaigne's Essais, i s obvious. Hugo; Friedrich i n his c r i t i -cal masterpiece Montaigne- has described the rise of the open-form i n Renais-226 sance literature of the 15th century (Rabelais, Erasmus, Montaigne). There i s a long metapoetic; passage; i n the essay "De l a vanite" (Livre; I I I , Chapitre DC) where Montaigne explains and jus t i f i e s his conscious and delib-erate; cultivation of "disorder" as a means of necessitating the active partic-ipation of the reader; i h a sense he i s here justifying-;his use of the open-form: J'entends que l a matiere se distingue soy-mesmes. Elle montre assez: ou elle se change, ou. e l l e conclud, ou. elle commence, ou e l l e se reprend, sans l'entrelasser de parolles de liaison et de coustre introduictes pour le service des oreilles foibles et nonchallantes, et sans me gloser moy-mesme. Qui est celuy qui n'ayme mieux n'estre pas leu que de l'estre en dormant ou en fuyant? . . . 128 Puisque je ne puis arrester l'attentibn du lecteur par le pois, "mamco male" s l i l advient que je l'arreste par mon 227 embrouilleure. . . . Egbert Paas has summarized the? inadequacy of criticism dominated by the concept of unity or holism to) deal with? works i n the open-form: .Die;akademische Literaturkritik: hat, von wenigen Ausnahmen abgesehen, diese Lehre noch nicht zu Ziehen vermocht. Was sich zumindest aus unserer Warte als unzweifelhaft offene Struktur erweist, wird von ihr entweder i n das? Prokrus?tesbett einer veral-teten Vorstellung von der Einheit des Dichtwerks zu zwangen ver-228 sucht oder nach;dem? gleichen Prihzip als strukturlos abgetan. Paas goes on to cite the criticism of The Waste Land as an example off the limitations of h o l i s t i c interpretation: Die Sekundarliteratur? zum Waste Land bietet nur zahlreichere Bei-spiele desselben gegenwartsfernen Unverstands. So bezeichnen die . meisten Rritiker das?, Gedicht entweder—wie E l i o t selbst—als struk-tur los, oder sie entdecken darin eine mehr oder weniger fragwttrdige Einheit des Themas oder Aufbaus; archetypisch-mythologischer ^.pat-terns", der Aussageperspektive oder musikalischer Strukturen. Ob die? Holismusvorstellung tlberhaupt auf das? Gedicht: anwendbar i s t , wird nur i n den wenigsten Fallen gefragt. Und selbst, wo z.B; bei I. A. Richards derlei Zweifel laut werden, ftthren diese nicht zu dem; Versuch, das Gedicht ausserhalb der fast unsere gesamte Litera-turkritik beherrschenden Vorstellung yon der Einheit des Dicht-229 werks zu deuten. In? support of Faas' conclusions with respect to The Waste Land as an open-form poem, one?can cite the excellent essay off' Wolfgang Iser which deals with Eliot?s poem. Iser convincingly demonstrates how the reader's conp --. sciousness or "Reflexion" i n i t s attempts to establish the consistency or unity of the poem eventually comes to totally contradictory conclusions?and 129 ultimately is: forced to; deny that the poem possesses; unity i n any tradi-tional! senses Wurde es der Reflexion gelihgen, die i n den Hinweisen versteckten Zusajmnenhangen zu eiher umfassenden; Integration zu hringen, so ware eihe solche Dichtung nichts weiter als eih Ratsel fur Kundige und Gelehrte. Die Eliotkommentare lassen tatsachlich manchmal diesen Eindruck aufkommen. Es wird eihe Kbnsistenz zwischen alien aus-gearheiteten MOglichkeiten hergestellt, die das erzeugte.Gesamt-b i l d hisweilen als hOchst ahstrus erscheihen lasst. • • • Die von der Reflexion erfahrenen Konsistenzhrttche erscheinen als Auffor-derung zu unentwegter Suche, i n deren Verlauf alle Anspielungen auf ihre zusammenhangshildende Ponktion befragt werden. Die da-durJbh freigesetzte Produktivitat erfahrt aher alle von ihr artiku-lierten Entwurfe, das Ganze i n eine durchgangige Zusammenhang zu 230 bringen als eine Piktion. "There; is; no subject i n which we must proceed with more caution than ihi tracing? the history off the arts; and sciences;; lest we assign, causes; which never existed and reduce; what is; merely contingent to; stable and universal principles;." (David Hume) "Influence; scholarship should be re-examined altogether; the; inclination towards; this; causality mania reduced. The relatively minor importance off literary influences compared with other things; in the way off impulses which l i f e has; to; offer." (Gunnar Ekelof) "Je n'aime guere le mot influence, qui he designe qu'une ignorance ou une hypothese." (Paul Valery) The Problem) off Influences EkelBf, Eliot; and "le Demon de 1' analogies The Concept of Influence and the Questionability of Influence Studies; The problem: of literary influence has been one of the central concerns off comparative literature: and off comparative literary studies since their conception i n the 19th century. Thus Paul Van Tieghem can; speak: of "cette notion; d 1 influence qui eat au coeur meme; des; etudes de litterature com-- 231 paree. • . ." Just how closely the concept off influence;, implying as xt does: notions of causality, is; related to, positivism: and the; s c i e n t i f i c , philosophical and epistemological concerns of the? 19th century is; not some-thing which need concensus here, but the; awareness of the; concept off i n f l u -ence; as i t i s employed i n modern usage, that i a as the particular indebted-ness off a particular writer; to; another insofar as: his reading or study off hia; predecessor; has: affected organically his own creative process and possi-bly but not necessarily- l e f t residue; of this state of having been affected i n the form of specific formal or ideal aspects of his own work which are reminiscent off that of his predecessor; i s undoubtedly a characteriatically recent development i n Western man's view of the l i t e r a r y process and one; which has; to be related to the modem, post-Romantic obsession with " o r i g i -nality," for as Ronald Primeau has written: As: long as originality was not the primary criterion off aeathetic value, the; pervasive linearity of li t e r a r y influence was. nearer: a real threat to the imitator. Because classical imitation waa a species of discipline for the purpose of liberation, the writer: experienced l i t t l e of the confinement that later: came to; be associ-232 ated with staying too close to one's influences. 132 EkeliJff himself has expressed an awareness of the inhibiting* limiting; effect which? the post-Romantic preoccupation with''"originality" has; had on the a r t i s t when i h a review off Erik Lindegren's; Sviter (Suites) he gives a very positive evaluation of the: l a t t e r 1 ss poetic: practice^ and off h i s incorporation of the; whole poetic tradition: But I believe that i t i s i n that direction that one has to look for the key to that form of poetry off which i t i s here a question. As a means of expression for experience i t employs; not only a personal! language determined by influences and by its; own formal endeavours; i t wants to employ poetry as a whole, as; a canon. This i h i t s , turn represents a revival of pre-romantic ideals; or rather > of pre-romantic practice. I t was romanticism that "a tout prix wanted to be i t s e l f . Before that one drew much more on common 233 sources. Recent examinations of the concept of "influence" and of the philosophi-cal, epistemological, psychological and methodological problems and d i f f i c u l -ties which studies i n influence pose; have, i f nothing else, revealed the; inescapable complexity off a l l attempts to verify i f an influence has actually occurred!. A real influence may be the; result of contact witha apparently sec-ondary works of art rather: than with those of the undisputed masters. The influence may have; exerted i t s e l f largely on the—for the students off i n f l u -ence—shaky/ ground of: the influenced arti s t ' s psyche and through; a process of displacement l e f t l i t t l e : or no verifiable: traces; conversely, supposed textual similarities: or overlappihgs between the works of two artists; who are assumed"! to stand i n a causal relationship with each other may be purely contingent coincidences or parallelisms, more the product of the "Zeitgeist" than of one artist's: effect on another. The danger i n the latter case i s off course that the c r i t i c or scholar may attribute; an influence where he should haw© heeiri content with his: own. private associations. The moral problems, of l i t e r a r y indebtedness are, at least i n the modem? context, just as obvious: and d i f f i c u l t to avoid: i f one writer has "influenced" another, the; critic-scholar who establishes the influence wil l i n g l y or: unwillingly contributes to the belief that the later, i n f l u -enced writer i s in. some sense less original or innovative, that he owes; a> debt to his usually more famous: predecessor: which he has to repay or acknowl-edge; or i n extreme casea that he; i s even guilty o f having appropriated an a r t i s t i c method, a particular style or. technique for his own use without properly acknowledging: the debt. Frequently, iff the c r i t i c himself does not draw such explicit conclusions;; his readers^ steeped as they are; i n the post-Romantic concern for originality, may well draw such conclusions themselves merely on the basis of the c r i t i c ' s having established an analogy or simi-l a r i t y between the two ar t i s t s i n question. Goran Hermeren i n his book Influence i n Art and! Literature, which; i s the; f i r s t and only systematic study off the epistemological, logical and philosophical d i f f i c u l t i e s : posed by studies off influence, has stressed the dangers; coupled with such a moralistic view; of influence: The; moral of this [Shakespeare's borrowings; from previous; writers] is; that one should have a less moralistic view of influence; i t need not be a fault or a sign of weakness to be influenced by others; and this, i n turn, would be to challenge the basically 234 Romantic conception of originality as; the supreme value; i n art. Given the; often vague; application of the term', i t seems advisable; to; reserve the concept of "influence" for those particular modifications which the work of one particular writer or a r t i s t has undergone due to; his: having; had contact with the work: off a previous writer or a r t i s t . Influence i n the 134 sense of literary fortune; or of the reception of a particular writer i n say a foreign country, for example: the reception off T. S. E l i o t i n the Sweden of the 30's and 40's, poses problems which are of a more; generally socio-logical or historical nature and thus belongs, s t r i c t l y speaking, more to the domain of literary history or even the sociology o f literature than to that of lit e r a r y criticism) i n the narrow sense of the; term, of whiichi i n f l u -ence studies may be considered to be a subordinate; category, although obvi-ously the positive reception of a given writer i n a given milieu and at a given time may have been conducive; to; that effect which one calls " i n f l u -ence" i n the s t r i c t sense, i.e. the effect both a r t i s t i c and psychological of the work: of one writer-artist on another. I t i s equally possible, however, that such a positive reception insofar as i t createdl a common ground of asso-ciation among a certain group of readers and c r i t i c s may have? encouraged; the advancement of false claims of influence with respect to that particular writer who was i n the; limelight and a lesser known indigenous; writer. This could well have been the case with T. S. E l i o t and Gunnar EkelBf during; the: 30's and 40's when the question of influence was f i r s t brought up. In accordance with; Hermeren's exposition of the; problems of influence:, i t i s perhaps; necessary to make a distinction between; a r t i s t i c and non-art i a t i c influence and between psychological and a r t i s t i c - l i t e r a r y i n f l u -ence. A non-artistic influence would be of the type "EkelBfs travels i n Greece, Italy and Turkey"; an; a r t i s t i c one on the other hand his studies; of Sufic literature (Ibn a l - 'Arab! for example). As far as the distinction between a r t i s t i c and psychological influence i s concerned, any a r t i s t i c influence necessarily implies that a psychological influence has taken place, whereas the converse is; not necessarily true: a strong psychological i n f l u -ence on an a r t i s t may have; l e f t l i t t l e or no visible trace1, no visible i n f l u -ence on the technical-artistic aspects of his; work« Further, one can distinguish between the; external conditions for determining whether an influence has? taken place and the internal conditions; for the same. The external conditions? include such conditions: as; the; "temporal requirement" (Hermeren) (X cannot have influenced Yf unless Y follows; X) and the "require-ment of contact" (Hermeren) (X cannot have influenced Y with respect to a particular artistic, aspect a unless Y was familiar with X with respect to a). The external conditions for influence thus reflect the history of the influenced writer's-artist's contact with a previous writer or a r t i s t and the scholar or student of influence i n his attempt to determine; whether; or not such conditions have;, been f u l f i l l e d can content himself at this level with questions of chronology ("Did the f i r s t draft of poem Y created by poet B come into existence before he made the acquaintance of poem X by poet A?"). The internal requirements; or conditions of influence, on the other hand, refer to; those particular formal, technical or a r t i s t i c similarities between two l i t e r a r y or a r t i s t i c works, similarities which seem to substantiate the fact that one of the; two works i n question has been influenced by the other: for example, the use of the quotation-allusion technique i n Ekelof s En MBlna-Elegi may be taken as proof of the fact that the poem has been i n f l u -enced! i n this respect by T. S. El i o t ' s use of a similar technique i h The  Waste; Land. In this context i t i s , however, important to distinguish be-tween significant or relevant similarities and irrelevant ones;. The former speak i n favour of the attribution of influence, providing any reader under "normal" conditions; would become aware of them; irrelevant or insignificant similarities are: those which result from the fact that two writers p a r t i c i -pate; i n the same a r t i s t i c convention, use the same source; or work i n the same medium. The relevant si m i l a r i t i e s , on the contrary, are sufficiently 136 precise, that i s t e l l one enough about the a r t i s t i c specificity oir individu-a l i t y of the two works considered to function as an index of possible i n f l u -ence. That both Ekelttf and E l i o t have? written long poems i n free verse or that both make use of an allusion-quotation technique are: not i n themselves sufficiently precise similarities to be used as the: basis of claims; of i n f l u -ence, since innumerable other modern poets such as Pound have also used the same techniques. Only the: internal conditions; for influence, that i s the domain of; relevant ar t i s t i c ; similarities, place the c r i t i c i n the domain of literary criticism s t r i c t l y speaking, whose main; task i s the description, 235 analysis; and interpretation of works of art" ; the study of the external conditions; belongs more to the area, of l i t e r a r y history. The greatest mistake of those c r i t i c s attempting to establish the i n f l u -ence of one writer on another i s to attribute an influence where there i s a mere; temporal succession and nonexclusive similarities:. As; Hermeren and other: theoreticians of influence have pointed out, however, "there can; be 236 influence without similarity and similarity without influence." Under--standing ex? nihilo seems indeed to be; a? human impossibility; i t seems as; i f we can?only understand a thing i n terms of what we have already encountered, in terms? of our previous; experience with things. To grasp what Joyce i n Ulysses? calls the; "whatness" of. a thing, i n other words what gives i t its; individuality and makes i t entirely distinct from other things* i s reserved for those exclusive: moments of epiphany/where one i s able to set aside; a l l teleological thinking, a l l subordination of one's thought and perception to one?* s w i l l . I t i s perhaps something; of the latter "disinterested" grasp of things which Rilke has achieved;—or at least attempted! to achieve—in the Neue Gedichte. Understanding; i s usually identified, however, with the: uncovering of identical structures; or similarities'. Thus Hans: Ruin can speak ofC "what an enormous: role the search for analogies; identical struc-tures, similar situations; and contexts plays i n a l l areas of culture" (vilken enorm; r o l l uppletandet av motsvarigheter, identiska strukturer, liknande; situationer och sammanhang spelar inom a l i a kulturgebit) and can conclude: "There exists a need to tie together, grow together, generalize which makes i t s e l f f e l t everywhere." (Det ges. ett behov att binda samman, vaxa ihop, forallmajxliga; som allestades gor sig gallande.) In an interesting commentary i n his Cahier I, Ekelof himself has pointed to the impossibility of perceiving things exc nihilo: but i f you see the sun shining, you immediately feel joy and delight. That i s indeed true but i f you were to imagine a newly created human being old enough to have complete command of his senses but entirely without experience. He certainly would not feel any joy at the fact that the sun was: shining the f i r s t time; he saw i t [.] Why? Because there i s ; no sensory impression which gives; you a feeling i f you haven't previously experienced i t . If you see a thing which does not resemble anything else, which does; not remind you: of anything you have seen previously, neither with respect to i t s form, colour, smell or taste;, what kind of feelings would you feel i f you saw i t . Nothing i f not perhaps a feeling of surprise at not feeling anything, at your emotional experience not te l l i n g you: "Here you have this thing and that thing; that i s beautiful, that i s ugly, that i s dangerous; etc. etc. ["] But i f that thing stung you or burned you, you would certainly never again see i t without a feeling of fear. In his book Literature as System Claudio Guillen makes an interesting distinction between two modes of c r i t i c a l apprehension. The f i r s t he; calls "assimilation," the second "accommodation." "Assimilation," he writes, "takes place; whenever the individual incorporates the data of experience 239 i into a previous logical framework/' He writes further of this "assimila-tive" mode of thoughts "Most c r i t i c s (or writers: functioning as; c r i t i c s ) view a new work: 'through' a system: they perceive, judge and decide, i&jr better or for:worse, within the coordinates of an available; c r i t i c a l : -scheme:."2^ In a note he further defines the distinction between "assimi-lation" and "accommodation": "Assimilation alone brings no effective* knowl-edge of the subject; and is; oountered constantly by accommodation, through; which the subject actively participates- i h the refinement of cognitive schemes." The great majority of; influence studies*, not even to speak of the more offhand statements; about influence, would thus*, i t would seem', operate; well within the sphere; of "assimilation" and only marginally and i n the; best of cases; can one label them as examples of "accommodation" i n Guillen's sense, that i s as- significant contributions to a refinement of our-understanding of a particular writer: or a particular a r t i s t on his own terms*. From a general point of view this; i s indeed the predicament of most academic lite r a r y criticism, that, to use Roland Barthes' term, i t is; fundamentally "analogical" rather than accommodative or productive* In a criticism of? the "influence" mania of academic criticism i n a commentary dated 1963» Ekeloff uses the similar terms "receptive" and "productive" (corresponding; to Guillen's "assimilative" and "accommodative!' respectively) to define the; limitations of scholars, obsessed by problems of influence; and similarity: For professors the following,seems to be the case: their associ-ations; are receptive, not productive (as; writers; believe theirs are', i n doing which many are wrong and some are right). They (the; professors; and those who w i l l become such) s i t and read and say to themselves: well I ' l l be damned! That I recognize from this or that French, English, German proto-type, or: well I ' l l be damned! That person has; read about the: Oedipus complex: or Yin and Yang. If they went out into l i f e instead, the problem of influence would not appear any more curious than that my stepfather: 159 Smith made things hard for me or than that my mother Jones and her lover Murray caused me to be torn between principles. 2^ 2 A further reservation to? be- held against the concept of influence and against studies; i n influence has to do: with the larger problem of causality: mere temporal succession is: of" course no indication or proof of a causal relationship: existing between two elements involved i n the succession, just as l i t t l e as the uncovering of a supposed causal relationship does not neces-saril y provide the key to; the: inner workings of either the thing; "caused" or the thing which "causes." Yet such false assumptions i n a l l their banality seem; to be operatives i n many a c r i t i c ' s ; concern with influence. It i s per-haps Friedrich Nietzsche: who has: provided the most thorough modern critique of the entire notion of causality, of the i l l u s i o n of causality of which the notion off "influence" may be viewed as a subdivision. He writes, for exam-ple: "-Aus eiher notwendigen Reihenfolge von Zustanden folgt nicht deren 245 Kausal-Verhaltniss . . . Es gibt weder Ursachen, noch Wirkungen." In another: passage he writes: Es gibt nicht, wie Kant meint, einen Kausalitftts-Sinn. Man wundert sich, man i s t beunruhigt, man w i l l etwas Bekahntes, woran man sich Halten kann. . . . Sobald im Neuen uns; etwas Altes aufgezeichnet wird, sind; wir beruhigt. Der angebliche Kausalit&ts:-Instinkt i s t nur: die Furcht vor dem TJngewohnten und der Versuch, i n ihm etwas; Bekanntes zu entdecken,—ein Suchen nicht nach Ursachen, sondern 244 nach Bekanntem. At the same time1 supposed! causality does not necessarily provide knowledge of the things; involved i n the; causal chain: "Aus seinen Ursachen lasst sich ein Ding nicht erraten, d.h. ein Ding=seinen Wirkungen. Die Kenntnis der Ursachen eines Dinges gibt keine; Kenntnis seiner Wirkungen, d.h. keine Kennt-245 nis des; Dinges." In a. sense; the establishment of causality i n many u cases;—and influence studies are a good example—can from the point of view of understanding the inner workings o f the elements i n the causal chain be a mere tautology comparable to the? mediaeval concept of the "virtue" (the reason why a particular drug? or plant has a purgative effect i s that i t pos-esses " l a vertu purgative"). .The. late 19th century?scepticism towards the idea of causality affected : the Nietzsche disciple Hermann Hesse, who i h the opening passage from his short travel -journal Die Mrriberger Reise (1927) can conclude;: Grande, so scheint mir, sind immer unklar, Kausalitat findet im Leben nirgends; statt, nur im; Denken. Der vollkommeh vergeistigte, der Natur? ganz; und gar entwachsene Mensch zwar mtlsste fahig sein, i n seihem Leben eine; ltlckenlose Kausalitat zu erkennen, und ware berechtigt, die? seinem Fewusstsein zuganglichen Ursachen und An-triebe fur die einzigen zu halten, denn er bestunde ja ganz- und gar nur aus Bewusstsein. Doch habe ich einen solchen Mensehen oder einen solchen Gott noch niemals angetroffen, und bei uns; anderem Mensehen erlaube ich mir, gegen a l l e Begrundungen eines Tuns? oder Geachehens skeptisch zu sein. Yet another- reservation has to be held against the notion of literary influence and this i s that i t tends to ignore the transcendent element which characterizes any great a r t i s t , his a b i l i t y to transcend or surpass the material conditions of his environment, including his; influences, and to reinterpret the* borrowings from his; predecessors on his own terms. In his; important essay "The Aesthetics of Literary Influence," Claudio Guillen has warned against the extremes of viewing the creative process either as; a mere mechanical transposition of values already present, let us say i n the form of a particular a r t i s t i c tradition or of a set of conventions* or as a com-pletely transcendent act of creation; neither of these extreme schemes; pro-vides an adequate representation of the creative act as i t i s practiced by the gifted a r t i s t : A r t i s t i c creation, according to this view, may he found some-where Between two poles: the1 process of transfer and reorgani-zation mentioned aibove; and on the-other end, the religious concept of absolute creation. Bbth notions are incompatible with the peculiar nature of art. The former appears; to be based on an unsatisfactory biological analogy. . . . Creation i s a term particularly adaptable to art insofar as one excludes from i t both the extreme of creatio ex nihilo and the supposition that the: crear tive process; represents; a passage from one thing: to another within the same order of reality (the same "unity," that i s to say) with-out a contrast, an effort, and a change of kind'. 2"^ Guillen's concept of displacement has an obvious applicability to the problems of literary influence, which has to be seen not as a mechanical transfer of elements from the writer who* influences to the- writer who is; influenced (an unwritten assumption which appears: to- underlie many a study of influence), but rather ass a psychological effect on the genetic process which brings about the new work o f the; influenced writer, a psychological impulse of which the c r i t i c or scholar may well uncover no textual traces; whatsoever i n the new; work, and this by virtue; of the process of displacement through which the' influenced writer assimilates-, transforms and overcomes the original "genetic incitation" (Guillen). Heedless to say the process of dis-placement becomes even more extreme, to the extent of becoming vir t u a l l y unanalysable from the^scholar's point of view-, when the influencing a r t i s t and the influenced a r t i s t are; working i n two distinct a r t i s t i c media, for example the: film: and the literary text. The difficulties.connected with establishing the contours; of an influence across the lines; of different media, say from painting to literature, are for the cr i t i c ; or scholar v i r t u -a l l y insurmountable; and the; c r i t i c s who: have studied the influences; on Eke-loff may thus he excused somewhat for not having delved into some of the non-literary influences which the Swede underwent, i n particular such things as: the modern; art of the; 20's i n Paris and the music; of Stravinsky (booth influences which; Ekelof mentions, aa having been significant impulses behind h i a early-work: i n the; essay "Sjalvsyn"[PersonaI Observation]); the fact remains, however, that this; negligence is; more; convenient than j u s t i -fiable, for as Ekelof haa written: It; i s a: complete and deplorable misconception that only l i t e r -ature;, or; mainly literature-, can influence literature* One can say that this is: an unintelligent misconception, A poet can learn so-called strictness of form'in music, iff anywhere, and why-not i n architecture, at least certain kinds; of architecture. What he -can learn from painting; is: completely incalculable, for painting i s itself, a. schooling i n how one perceives, sees; l i f e and the; phenom-ena which surround one. 2^ 8 According;to Guillen the "fallacy of similarity" whereby the positivist c r i t i c uncovers parallelisms, echoes or textual similarities between a work Y created by B?and a work X created by B^s predecessor A and thus infers an influence of A on 1 is; an exemplification of the f a l s i t y off the mechanistic concept of transfer which most c r i t i c s , have inherited from the 19th century. For; unless such echoes, parallelisms; and textual similarities, which often reside more i n the private associations off the c r i t i c than i n the a r t i s t i c horizon of either of the two art i s t s involved, can be shown to have had a decisive effect on the: genetic process resulting i n work Y—and the d i f f i -culties involved i n determining this; are frequently insurmountable:—, they can hardly be put forward as proofs of influence. Despite; a l l the above reservations; which would seem to restrict the; value1 or f e a s i b i l i t y of influence studies i h art and literature, the fact remains, that the: latter continue to flourish and that c r i t i c s , even prominent ones, continue to make an often; unreflected" use of the concept of influence in the Belief that i t somehow allows the student off l i t e r a -ture; and art to; penetrate; the functioning off the creative process. The; greatest danger facing; academic; criticism is: what I have- called the- "fallacy offf sindlamty," whereby supposed similarities of technique, versification, themes and! the l i k e are; advanced, together: with more or less convincing: proof of an influenced wMter: having; had; contact i n one? form or another with a previous influencing writer, as? proofs off claims off influence. Where there; are mere homologies at work, analogies are; drawn and from these analogies an historical-causal dependence of one writer on another. The; establishment; and substantiation off claims of influence i s , however, not only a formal problem: i t i s also, as? we; have seen-, a psychological one as- well as an his-t o r i c a l one. An; awareness of the histo r i c a l situation i n which the two writers function for whom an hypothesis: of influence is? to be examined i s an absolute, necessity for the; scholar who wishes? to avoid! the p i t f a l l of attributing: "influence" where one i s dealing merely with the contact off two writers: with a?, similar convention (say/ the use of the collage; or mosaic off quotations i n modern poetry from Pound and E l i o t to William Carlos Williams and Gunnar EkelBf), tradition or h i s t o r i c a l situation. In the?latter case obviously one has? to do; not with influence but rather with what EkelBf i n an unpublished commentary on the problem of influence has? called "parallel phenomena?, owing to a? similar situation, preconditions; and other things" (parallellfBreteelser, beroende pa liknande situation, fBrutsftttnihgar e l l e r annat). 2^ The danger i s of coursBiiheightened i n the case of academic c r i t i -cism with i t s ; largely analogical and assimilative bias. The: c r i t i c or schol-ar who i s cautious and aware? of the d i f f i c u l t y of proving; claims; of influence; refrains altogether from drawing conclusions? as to influence on the basis- of. mere similarities or homologies; a case? i n point i s Conradin Perner, who i n his: doctoral dissertation Gunnar EkelBfs Nacht am Horizont und seine  Begegnung mit Stephane Mallarmet after having drawn a l l kinds; of parallels between EkelBfs early work and the work of Mallarme, cautiously refuses to commit himself too conclusions; about influence and chooses; to satisfy himself with a synchronic rather than diachronic treatment of the relation-ship between the two authors, concluding; "Dabei s o i l die Frage na