George Elliott Clarke's Literary Talents example

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George Elliott Clarke's Literary Talents

George Elliott is considered to be one of the most famous and leading Canadian authors of the 20th century. Among his 3 volumes of poetry the second one, Whylah Falls, was written in 1990 and a year later was attributed with the prestigious Archibald Lampman Award. Having African-American roots, the author is known to be attentive to cultural polyphony (Olos) and, therefore, to his cultural patrimony. Indeed, the author in also famous with his several anthologies specifically on Black Canadian Literature. Nowadays, when Clarke is a widely recognized author of several poetry volumes, a popular professor at the University of Toronto, a screenwriter and the author for opera libretto based on his own work, his most famous work still remains Beatrice Chancy, which was called by the author his first “real book since Whylah Falls” (Sandiford).

As a matter of fact, the book was enthusiastically received by critics – in the first place due to the interesting aesthetical synthesis implied by the author in his book. Clarke himself described the writing as put in the genre of passional, which can be defined as a verse-play that contains physical and psychological sufferings experienced by tragic and eponymous heroine. At the same time, the story created by the author can be simultaneously read as a romance. Some critics, however, tend to regard this poem in the lights of melodramatic codes, almost as a soap opera, which is patterned by rich implications of human emotions – love, dream, spirituality and, on the other hand – jealousy, lust, and violence (Sandiford). Robert Edison Sandiford remarks that Clarke has managed to produce a unique product for reading – both demanding and entertaining, and due to such a thorough mix of styles – classical, almost sacred, and the popular one – the book has gained such a popularity within reading audience (importantly, the first version of the book was completely sold in a number of 1800 copies during four month from the date of its publication) (Sandiford).

The success of Clarke’s writhing, however, is not only assured by the mélange of literary genres. As a matter of fact, the poem comprises rich intertexual details, various rhetorical and innovative stylistic strategies that turn this writing into a deeply philosophical and aesthetically rich poem. First of all, it should be stated that the idea of book is patterned with historical background. Beatrice Chancy recreated by the author is a version of the historic heroine Beatrice Chancy, a young woman of 20 years, who lived in Rome, Italy, and was sentenced to death for the crime of patricide. Beatrice was beheaded in 1599, specifically on September 11. Considered to be a martyr, Beatrice Chancy has been inspiring artists, musicians, film directors and writers throughout ages. Clarke, in his turn, has chosen his own interpretation. His authentic story is set in 1801 in Nova Scotia, more precisely in the Annapolis Valley. Beatrice is a black young woman, a daughter of …

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