[Msa-discuss] Artificial Light in Modernist Literature

Dennis Coyle dcoyle at drew.edu
Tue Oct 18 20:49:35 EDT 2011

I was convinced "the patient etherized upon the table" lines of
Prufrock had a direct reference to artificial light!  I looked at that
specific section and was shocked I was wrong so I am glad to see that
Shannon did find a reference that could also be useful with some
interpretation.  For the lines I am referring to specifically, I think
it could be interpreted as the sky is as dissected and torn apart (or
awaiting that violence--as Lawrence would associate surgery) just as a
patient laying upon a table in an operating room would be.  Thus, the
sky would be colored and shadowed not by the stars but by the
streetlights Prufrock is walking by.   
Depending upon what you are looking to do with this, extending your
interest to environments addressing areas more likely to be in
artificial light might also help.  Thus, Willa Cather's "The Novel
Demeuble" with its interest in interior, cluttered rooms that need to be
simplified may be of use (pulling in her ideas about the conception of
THE PROFESSORS HOUSE, the need to throw open the windows to let in fresh
air and new light to refresh and rejuvenate).   
Lawrence's "Surgery or the Bomb" would also become productive as the
bomb in the wall of the room would transform the space from one lit
artificially to one lit naturally (though obviously some other
transformations are entailed as well). 
These potentialities could then easily be connected to the principles
of Impressionist painting (with its interest in painting outdoors and in
the immediacy of the moment). 
Again, though, it's a matter of where you are looking to go.... 


>>> Thomas Travisano <travisanot at hartwick.edu> 10/18/2011 7:54 PM >>>
Eliot, Prufrock, lines 104-105 

It is impossible to say just what I mean!  

But as if a magic lantern threw the nerves in patterns on a screen:  



On Oct 18, 2011, at 7:38 PM, Shannon Winston wrote: 

Virginia Woolf's "The Searchlight." Here is the link:


Shannon Winston 

On Tue, Oct 18, 2011 at 3:38 PM, Stephen Pasqualina <spasqual at usc.edu>

Could anyone suggest examples from modernist writers—essays, novels,
plays, poems, or even letters—in which artificial light figures

Many thanks,

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