Miriam Nichols
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Myth and document in Charles Olson’s Maximus Poems
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Large in person, sprawling on the page, and epic in ambition, Charles Olson stands in mid-twentieth century American poetry like the diorite stone on Main Street to which he once compared himself. According to Von Hallberg, Olson arbitrarily arranges the historical and mythical narratives that make up the Maximus Poems and passes off the result as a public poem, more authentic, authoritative, and objective than it really is. One of the most immediate consequences of Olson's researches is his dismantling of the temporal partition between myth and history and his reach for a unified field theory through the concept of a human universe. In 'Human Universe' Olson attacks the 'UNIVERSE of discourse' as consequent to his polemic against Platonism. As Olson moulds his researches into a poetics, he proposes a number of terms that replace subject and object, muthos and logos, as organisers of the phenomenal field.

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