World Poetry and Criticism As Reflected in Contemporary Arabic Poetry: Myth and Acculturation
Advances in Social Sciences Research Journal
He used the materials of myth to forge new meanings fit for his age. In order to do this Eliot 4 found it necessary to use the new techniques of parataxis and objective correlative, constructions that overstep the bounds of language in its ordinary usage and of myth in its traditional meaning. 5 Among contemporary Arab poets the only one to have adopted a well-defined method for dealing with myths was Saʿdī Yūsuf, who used the technique of "complex model intertextuality", which, the present
... ch, the present paper argues, is a modernist technique for the use of myths. In the opinion of the present author it was Eliot's theory of the objective correlative that drew the attention of contemporary Arab poets towards ancient mythology. In his theory, Eliot states that the aim of an artist is not merely to express ideas as such, or emotions as such, but rather to find the "objective correlative", a term which he invented and first used in his study of Shakepeare's play Hamlet, published in 1919. In that study Eliot argued that the only way to express feelings in a work of art was to discover an "objective correlative", by which he meant "a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular 1 See: Abū Sayf, 2005, 211. The expression "indirect exposure" refers to the fact that the myths were used in a way that did not fit the poetic content because poets' acquaintance with the myths was indirect, through the writings of Western poets, especially T.S. Eliot. A good example of this usage is provided by al-Sayyāb's early poetic writings, where he imitated the use of myths in Western poetry, not always in a way that was consistent with the meanings that he intended to convey. 2 Ḥallāwī, 1997, 7-9; al-Gharfī, 1987 , 92-93. 3 Eliot, 1963 Eliot and Ezra Pound are considered the spiritual fathers of modernism in American poetry; see M. Levenson, 1986 Pound, too, was influenced by myths and used them in his poetry; he believed that myths originated in the experiences of people in antiquity, who felt the need to hide from their persecutors. He thus did not view myths as tradition or a record of the past, but rather as heritage of the past that affects the future; see Shāhīn, 1996, 43. 5 Shāhīn, op.cit., 52.