heart and mind

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Heart and Mind

Heart and MindEdith Sitwell

Edith SitwellModernist poetTraumatic and unpleasant associations with her neglectful parentsHer father forced her to have treatment for a spinal deformation which involved being locked into an iron frame.Formed a close bond with her governess, who educated her and eventually helped her to escape to LondonFell in love with the homosexual Russian painter Pavel Tchelitchew, a love which was unrequited.She never married.

1887 - 1964

Style & InfluencesEdith Sitwell wrote poetry in a dramatic mock nursery rhyme style.

She is famous for war poetry that mourns the death of an entire generation of young men and wasted swathes of country side in Europe.

In this poem, the additional influences of her unrequited love, the death of her governess, and her ideas about the futility of war, may also colour the images she creates.


Whats the poem about?Love & mortality expressed through allegorical figuresPhysical existence and spiritual existenceWhether the heart and mind function in opposition to each other, or work together to create a lasting legacyThe destructive power of love in the form of lust and obsession, or unrequited love

*Allegory - a story, poem, or picture that can be interpreted to reveal a hidden meaning, typically a moral or political one. E.g. Animal Farm

Heart and MindSaid the Lion to the Lioness When you are amber dust, -No more a raging fire like the heat of the Sun(No liking but all lust) Remember still the flowering of the amber blood and bone,The rippling of bright muscles like a sea,Remember the rose-prickles of bright pawsThough we shall mate no moreTill the fire of that sun the heart and the moon-cold bone are one.

Said the Skeleton lying upon the sands of Time The great gold planet that is the mourning heat of the SunIs greater than all gold, more powerfulThan the tawny body of a Lion that fire consumesLike all that grows or leapsso is the heart

More powerful than all dust. Once I was HerculesOr Samson, strong as the pillars of the seas:But the flames of the heart consumed me, and the mindIs but a foolish wind.

Said the Sun to the Moon When you are but a lonely white crone,And I, a dead King in my golden armour somewhere in a dark wood,Remember only this of our hopeless loveThat never till Time is doneWill the fire of the heart and the fire of the mind be one.

*crone a thin, ugly old woman

Form & Structure4 stanzas (8, 5, 4, and 5 lines respectively)No particular rhyme scheme, however rhyme can be found in certain linesEnjambmentAllegorical figures (lion, lioness & skeleton)

Tone, Mood & Figurative LanguageTone grandiose but jaded view of loves powerMood surreal & fantastical (as if the reader is being immersed into a legend)Focus on colour throughout the poem (esp. gold, white & black)Highly sensual imageryIn summary: The heart is more powerful and the mind can only be an observer in affairs of the heart.

Check out more resources herehttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L-D73ikRqHI (a great interview!)https://prezi.com/akt3qsyo8wby/sitting-well-with-sitwell/http://www.enotes.com/topics/edith-sitwell/critical-essays/sitwell-edith-1887-1964http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/edith-sitwellhttp://www.slideshare.net/madihahabeeb5/modernism-and-modern-poetryhttp://www.thehellenictimes.com/hercules.htmlhttp://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/samson-and-delilah-bible-story-summary/

Essay QuestionsHow does Sitwell present the similarities and differences of the heart and mind within the poem?

How has Edith Sitwell expressed her views about the importance of the heart and the mind in her poem Heart & Mind ?

Explore how Edith Sitwell has mesmerized her reader with the belief about the wide chasm between emotion and intellect in her poem Heart & Mind?

How does Edith Sitwell use language to present a picture of vitality, strength and energy on one hand and death, decay and our hopeless love on the other hand in her poem Heart and Mind ?

Samson & Hercules (parallels)The parallel between Samson and Hercules is in many respects very remarkable, and has been drawn out by Serdrius and others. The supernatural strength of each, the slavery to women (Quem non mille for, quem non Sthenellius hostis, Non potuit Mayors vincere, vicit amor. Ovid), the tearing asunder of the lion, the violent death of each, partly voluntary and partly forced, are all points of strong general resemblance.

But one of the most remarkable is the connection of Hercules with two pillars. The pillars of Hercules on each side the straits of Gibraltar, Mount Abila and Mount Calpe, were said to have been rent asunder by the strength of Hercules arms. And Herodotus relates that in the temple of Hercules at Tyre were two remarkable pillars, one of refined gold, the other of smaragdus, some green stone like an emerald (2:44). But the account given of a visit of Hercules to Egypt is still more remarkable, as compared with the history of the binding of Samson and the slaughter of the Philistines, as related in ch. 15.

The following are the words of Herodotus: The Greeks say that when Hercules went down to Egypt, the Egyptians surrounded him, and led him in a procession to sacrifice him to Jupiter; that he kept quite still for a time, but that when they were commencing the sacrifice at the altar (the first act of which was cutting off the hair) he turned in self-defence, and by his prowess slew them all. On which Herodotus remarks, How was it possible for him, being but one, and being only a man, to slay many myriads?

The prevalence of the worship of Hercules among the Phoenicians, as, e.g., at Tyre and Thasos, a Phoenician colony, and the close connection of Egypt with Gaza, where the prowess of Samson was so well known, are points not to be omitted in considering the probability of some of the legends of Hercules being drawn from the history of Samson. So also is the title of the Phoenician Hercules, the saviour or deliverer, as compared with Judges 2:16, 18; 13:5.