“Reality, woven in fictions”: Making the world by remaking stories, mythology as metanarrative in Ezra Pound's “Canto II,” John Gardner's “Grendel” and Anne Carson's “Autobiography of Red”
Denham, Michelle M.
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this paper is to examine the way mythology reveals the making of stories while at the same time reflecting the making of our own society. Because, as Hans Blumenberg says, myths change on the reception of them, and the changes themselves are a type of art crafted by a particular society. If this point is so, then what myths say about art equates what myths say about a particular society. The first two texts examined, Ezra Pound's "Canto II" and John Gardner's Grendel, focus on two different creational processes and how they interact with societies, where the final text, Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, examines the making of our culture as a technological society revealed through the altered form of myth. Reading "Canto II" we understand the God-Creator only to understand he does not exist. It is next to impossible to create a story wholly new and each divine experience must be through a poetic medium. With Grendel we understand that the Monster-Creator is the kind of creator we all are, and that in the retelling we experience a type of metafiction. For through mythology the act of reading is an act of art-making. We understand that a culture is built on symbols, and without participation in those symbols we are left as outcasts. In Autobiography of Red the symbols and myths are privatized. Words fail and new symbols made through photography must bridge the gaps between what is inside and what is outside.