Susan Eilenberg, "Voice and Ventriloquy in 'The Rime of the
Ancient Mariner'" (1992)
- Explain: "The 'Rime,' one of the most deeply and
elaborately anonymous poems ever written, comes to speech
through the medium of an alien voice" (282-83).
- How, according to Eilenberg, is the Ancient Mariner's
first words--"There was a ship"--"the first in a series of
dislocations--translations, displacements, metonymies--that
spring from the Mariner's refusal of his own name" (283),
- Explain: "He has no name because he has no identity"
- What, according to Eilenberg, might the Mariner's
"difficulties with language" suggest?
- Explain: "we have a hard time deciding how much the tale's
oddity has to do with the oddity of its teller and how much
has to do with the oddity of its material" (285).
- Explain: "the Mariner is only the perpetual, helplessly
uncomprehending audience to the tale that speaks itself
through him" (288).
- Summarize Eilenberg's argument about the use of quotation
marks in the poem (see also 291).
- In what way, according to Eilenberg, are the Mariner and
the Wedding Guest alike?
- To whom does Eilenberg refer as other "victim[s] of the
tale's compulsive repetitions" (290)?
- What relationship does Eilenberg identify among the gloss,
the spirits and tale, on the one hand, and the poem, the crew,
and the explicators on the other?
- Summarize Eilenberg's claims about Coleridge's
attempts at archaism.
- Explain: "The 'Rime' was the result of two separate
collaborative failures" (297).
- What connections does Eilenberg identify between the Ancient
Mariner and the "Wanderings of Cain"?
- What connections does Eilenberg identify
between the Ancient Mariner and Wordsworth's
Salisbury Plain poem(s)?
- Explain:“A summary of the ‘Rime,’ a transcription
of a recital of a repeatedly ventriloquized tale, might
go”: “ ‘ “ ‘I’ can’t stop talking” ’ ” (303).
- Explain what Eilenberg refers to as the "inverse analogy
between the Mariner's journey and the wedding that his tale
prevents the Wedding Guest from celebrating" (304).
- Explain: "Their metonymy exercises a metaphoric, even
metamorphic effect" (305).
- Explain: "Passing through the neighborhood of a simile or
even a submerged metaphor puts you (even, perhaps, you the
reader) at risk" (306).
- Explain: "Chronology does not really apply to the events of
the poem: its temporality is rhetorical" (307).
- Explain "the close relationship" Eilenberg identifies
"among naming, violence, and death" (308).
- How, according to Eilenberg, is killing of the albatross
what "may have been what provided [the Ancient Mariner] with a
self to refer to" (309).
- Explain: "Natural wind exists as a constant moving away
from itself" (310).
- How, according to Eilenberg, is wind in the poem "allied
with language and with spirit, but in uncomfortable ways"
- Explain: "The 'Rime,' like the Mariner, is obsessed with
its need to talk about itself and its relation to speech"
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