The aim of this blog is to serve as a meeting point to those who study or have studied English philology and, more broadly, to all those who love literature and language.

19 Jul 2008


A subject I really enjoyed in my first year of English Philology at the UNED was CORRIENTES Y AUTORES LITERARIOS NORTEAMERICANOS HASTA EL SIGLO XX. Besides the subject matter, I found the course materials very good. The organisation of contents was clear, the display of pictures and text was pleasant and the division of the themes in two volumes, quite handy for transportation to libraries, trains… or any other improvised place of study.

It was nice to discover (or rediscover) the works of names I already was familiar with (Benjamin Franklin, Walt Whitman, Mark Twain…) and get to know those of until then unknown ones (Kate Chopin, Frederick Douglass, Stephen Crane…) Each of them contributed in some way to create a picture of the United States with their particular piece of a ‘jigsaw puzzle’ (sketches of settlers’ concerns, slavery, Puritanism, pragmatic approaches to life, search for newness…)

Now, in order to illustrate this brief commentary on the abovementioned subject I have chosen Edgar Allan Poe, on the one hand, because his gothic writing may be linked to other works analysed in the course book (the atmosphere in Nathaniel Hawthorne's ‘Young Goodman Brown’ or the presence of death in Emily Dickinson’s poetry) and, on the other hand, as a homage to the writer who lends his name to this blog.

To do that I’ve been searching for a video which presented a reading of ‘The Raven’. These are some options:
- A version by Tinieblas González Part 1 / Part 2
- A reading by actor Christopher Walken.
- This 1967 version in Spanish:


  1. Hola Juan,

    Tengo un problema. ¿Has visto como ha quedado la presentación de mis citas de Shakespeare en mi sección? No sé qué pasa, pero el tamaño de las letras y la separación de los párrafos no es el que yo escojo y en cambio hace lo que le da la gana. A ver si me puedes echar un cable y darle mejor presentación, que aún me falta maña. Gracias. Susanna

  2. Hola Susanna,

    Tu 'entrada' me parece estupenda tal y como está. En cualquier caso, tampoco yo domino demasiado los mecanismos y recursos que ofrece el blog. De hecho, continuamente le estoy pidiendo consejo a Maite. Espero que ella pueda responder a tu pregunta.
    Todos estamos aprendiendo un poco sobre la marcha.
    Un saludo.

  3. La verdad es que no sé exactamente qué desajustes ocurren a veces al cambiar el formato de texto en una entrada. Lo único que se me ocurre para arreglarlo es recortar el texto desde donde se desmadra, pasarlo a Word y darle ahí un formato uniforme, volver a pegarlo y ahí seleccionar la letra inicial, 'trebuchet' en este caso, cambiar colores, eliminar algunos espacios que se crean automáticamente, etc. pero en este caso, como dice Juan, la entrada está bien y a lo mejor no merece la pena la inversión de tiempo.

  4. Now that I have I read today's quote: "I hold that a long poem does not exist. I maintain that the phrase “a long poem” is simply a flat contradiction in terms", I wonder in which context Poe produced it. Is 'The Raven' not a long poem?

  5. ¡Buena observación, Maite! Y la verdad es que no tengo respuesta. No sé cuál era el contexto en el que dijo esa frase lapidaria. Es el problema con las citas; muchas suenan bien, pero sacadas de contexto, tal vez su significado cambie un poco.
    Juan F.

  6. It definitely seems a long poem to me, but if we read the article in which the quote is found THE POETIC PRINCIPLE we can see his opinion about the length of a poem.

    “That degree of excitement which would entitle a poem to be so called at all, cannot be sustained throughout a composition of any great length. After the lapse of half an hour, at the very utmost, it flags — fails — a revulsion ensues — and then the poem is, in effect, and in fact, no longer such.”

    He thought long great works like “The Paradise Lost” are poetical but if viewed as a series of minor poems. By “minor” he meant “of little length”

    But a poem could also be “improperly brief”:

    “On the other hand, it is clear that a poem may be improperly brief. Undue brevity degenerates into mere epigrammatism. A very short poem, while now and then producing a brilliant or vivid, never produces a profound or enduring effect.”

    So, I suppose it has to have the RIGHT length….

    Leaving this discussion apart, he also thinks a poem should be written for a poem´s sake, Aesthetic as the ultimate object of all Poetry and not Truth.

    “It has been assumed, tacitly and avowedly, directly and indirectly, that the ultimate object of all Poetry is Truth. Every poem, it is said, should inculcate a morals and by this moral is the poetical merit of the work to be adjudged. We Americans especially have patronized this happy idea, and we Bostonians very especially have developed it in full. We have taken it into our heads that to write a poem simply for the poem's sake, and to acknowledge such to have been our design, would be to confess ourselves radically wanting in the true poetic dignity and force: — but the simple fact is that would we but permit ourselves to look into our own souls we should immediately there discover that under the sun there neither exists nor can exist any work more thoroughly dignified, more supremely noble, than this very poem, this poem per se, this poem which is a poem and nothing more, this poem written solely for the poem's sake.”

  7. That clears a lot the question! Thanks you for your well documented exposition, Beatriz.