LOGIN TO YOUR ACCOUNT

Username
Password
Remember Me
Or use your Academic/Social account:

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Or use your Academic/Social account:

Congratulations!

You have just completed your registration at OpenAire.

Before you can login to the site, you will need to activate your account. An e-mail will be sent to you with the proper instructions.

Important!

Please note that this site is currently undergoing Beta testing.
Any new content you create is not guaranteed to be present to the final version of the site upon release.

Thank you for your patience,
OpenAire Dev Team.

Close This Message

CREATE AN ACCOUNT

Name:
Username:
Password:
Verify Password:
E-mail:
Verify E-mail:
*All Fields Are Required.
Please Verify You Are Human:
fbtwitterlinkedinvimeoflicker grey 14rssslideshare1
Harma, Tanguy
Languages: English
Types: Unknown
Subjects:
This paper will approach Ginsberg’s poem as symptomatic of the dialectic exposed by historian Oswald Spengler ( 1880-1936) in The Decline of the West (1918), which posits the decay of Western civilisation and the birth and rise of a new model of civilisation as a sequel.\ud After a brief re-contextualisation of ‘Howl’, I will focus on the first two parts of the poem. I will show how its contents and aesthetics exemplify Spengler’s notion of downfall of the West: as the protagonists engage with modernity in an intense yet tragic way, it is the inadequacy between men and the new socio-historical conditions of their environment that Ginsberg aims to highlight. This movement is epitomised by the figure of ‘Moloch’: Moloch stands for an extended metaphor of the rational and materialistic West, which stifles men’s relationship to outer and inner nature. The values of innocence and wisdom are replaced by a will to knowledge (myth of Faust), an insatiable desire to control, and an obsession with measuring quantitatively the human experience. This chasm will be analysed through its philosophical origins as well: the epistemological grounds of modern Western civilisation will be underlined, and opposed to the Dionysiac essence of the myth of the primitive and the intuitive modality championed by Spengler.\ud The second part of this presentation will focus on the last two parts of the poem, in which the malevolent influence of Western civilisation dissipates and a new tone sets in: it is the one of humanistic hope and cosmic transcendence. Destruction has infanted creation: echoing the Spenglerian dynamic of fall and rise of civilisations, ‘Howl’ heralds a poetics that reconnects men with a more humanistic position in social and spiritual terms, respectively in the third and fourth part of the poem. On the whole, ‘Howl’ will be regarded as a unified piece that plays out the rhetorical downfall and re-birth of civilisation that Spengler brought forth in his work.

Share - Bookmark

Cite this article