Erik Gray

in The Art of Love Poetry

Published in print January 2018 | ISBN: 9780198752974
Published online January 2018 | e-ISBN: 9780191815928 | DOI:

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This chapter describes the invitation poem, a genre of love poetry with its roots in the biblical Song of Songs that reflects on major questions that have always surrounded the nature of love. Does love entail recognition or fresh discovery, a completion of the self or a disruption of its contours? Is love primarily a natural passion or a cultural practice? The invitation poem, with its displacement of erotic desire onto an imagined landscape, negotiates these possibilities through its fusion of inward and outward, homecoming and exile, intimacy and alienation. The tradition initiated by the Song of Songs alters over the centuries, as poets including Christopher Marlowe and Charles Baudelaire, among many others, highlight different points of contact between the poetic and erotic imagination. The invitation genre can thus be seen as an archetypal form of love lyric, emphasizing some of the central paradoxes that link love to poetry.

Keywords: invitation; Song of Songs; nature; culture; displacement; landscape; homecoming; exile

Chapter.  14338 words. 

Subjects: Literary Studies (Poetry and Poets) ; Literature

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