Original Research

The archetypal mandala: Visions of the self in the poetry of Coleridge, Eliot and Breytenbach

E. Deudney
Literator | Vol 15, No 2 | a669 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v15i2.669 | © 1994 E. Deudney | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 May 1994 | Published: 02 May 1994

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E. Deudney, University of Port Elizabeth, South Africa

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This paper is a preliminary survey of the visions of the s e lf in poetry. It is concerned with the transformation of consciousness as depicted by each of the three poets a Romantic, a Modernist and a Postmodernist poet respectively and expressed in specific poems with a cyclical nature. The romantic poet Coleridge's “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is taken as the first example. It is found to be an allegory of the metamorphosis of the poet’s temporal subjective consciousness into an ‘eternal ’ subject position in the narrated text. Eliot’s "Four Quartets" exemplifies the Modernist mode of consciousness as an 'anironic vision of unity' achieved by adhering to a religio-aesthetic meta-narrative. Breytenbach (1988:115) calls his volumes of prison poetry "The Undanced Dance". Taken as a whole "The Undanced Dance" has a structure which concurs with what Brodey (1971:4) calls "an Einsteinian time-space form of relations” and lures its readers into the trap of falling into postmodern quantum consciousness.


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