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Maf the Dog, like Lolita, like The Great Gatsby, is a threnody for lost innocence.
Mourning Beatrice: The Rhetoric of Threnody in the 'Vita nuova.
A threnody is a dirge or lament, and certainly not what the dawn chorus is about, in my woods or anyone else's.
What starts as a conventional modernist protest at the deadening effects of the daily commute, suburb-to-office-and-back ("Hauling eight coffins and their dead, / My office train for Cape Town / Shoves its brown caterpillar head--/ Through Woodstock's slattern wilderness"), turns into a threnody for a divided society:
Poems (Coffee House Press, 2006), Threnody (Erring Press, 2006), and
The Poet Egan O'Rahilly, Homesick in Old Age', a much more fully furnished poem spoken in O Rathaille's persona, invokes a crucial national context, the dissolution of the Gaelic orden It incorporates in the final three of its seven stanzas a version of his celebrated threnody for the Irish gentry and their defeat by the English, "[i]s fada liom oiche fhior-fhliuch'.
Perhaps if they leaned hard enough a kind of Braille memento mori might be forged, imprinted as a warning threnody on the fabric of the national psyche.
No other undergraduate recited poetry through a megaphone into the Christ Church meadow; Peter Quennell recalls Acton once declaiming all three hundred twenty-six lines of Swinburne's threnody Anactoria at a luncheon party.
The origins of El duelo can be traced ultimately to the Byzantine poetry of the Lamenting Virgin which, in turn, owed its theme and structure to the classical threnody, or funeral song, of the lamenting woman (Pelikan 128-29).
A threnody for rural life before 1914, the novel also contains a lethally accurate portrayal of the "professional anti-Fascist" demagogue, the 1930s forebear to Christopher Hitchens:
One of the passengers is Threnody, a strong-willed girl determined to apprentice with the lamplighters, and she replaces Rossamund as the primary object of scorn.
The seal nearly jumps out at us in a threnody of raspy exhalation, whereas we barely hear the man breathing, only the creaky rocking of his hammock over and above the sounds of the airplane's noisy engines.
In concert life itself, we can then trace the inclusion of previously unacceptable works in the programmes of official festivals--for example Krzysztof Penderecky's Threnody for the Victims of Hiroshima and Luigi Nono's Le Victoire de Guernica could be performed at the Prague Spring in 1963.
It illustrates how the threnody of the past has been transformed and altered into a moment of sweet redemption through the sons, the future generation.
When first we hear Gustavo Santaollala's heartbreaking threnody in compound thirds--he called it "The Wings" before the fact, but Lee gave it a very different function--it plays under a gloomy pronouncement: "Ain't no reins on this one" (Story to Screenplay 54).
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