Disappointment – The Poetics Of . . .

www.isbnlib.org poetics of

The meaning of disappointment in a deeper form than simply to be the frustration of wishes or expectations – failure, defeat, and mortification, signifying a more complex and traumatic experience in which self is estranged from the hopes of selfhood.

The psychic state of being disappointed results in a complex condition of psychological deadlock; isolating , demoralizing, and humiliated both in itself and in its idea of what it means to be a subject.

The pleasures of the self are obliterated (rather than solemnized).   

The dream sustaining all other dreams dies.

An experience of loss fractures and paralyzes the formerly hopeful self, because it makes the self seem in retrospect to have been arrogant and naive. The self now regard itself as having grossly overestimated its power and significance, and it loses ontological status in its own eyes: it seems to itself a mediocre thing and is at a loss to know how to employ its remaining energies of thought and desire. The dream sustaining all other dreams dies; one is left (as Ashbery puts it) “To awake and try to begin living in what / Has now become a slum.”

The paradigm of such discomfiture

The psychological impasse of disappointment, in which the self is compromised to the extent that is has lost its resources of pride and defiance and is reduced to seeking comfort in pieties it does not really accept.

The compounded influence of disappointment has an abysmal quality; its self-consciousness, its haunting self-doubt, and its oppression. The exploration of such effects governs the poetry of many Wordsworth successors; Shelley and Wallace Stevens particularly.

Poetic works are reviewed that represents the self struggling not only to recover an interest in the experience of the world but also in the experience of being an experiencing subject.

With a sense of future having been cut off one’s new purpose is to suppress feeling and self-consciousness, and ultimately to distract himself from his own existence. Beyond the goal of becoming numb and with one’s course of actions halted, suspended in a fraught condition of paralysis – as to be doubly afflicted: to have to labor at an existence deprived of self-delight but also confined to the beholding of his degraded state.

Coleridge lyrics here is an example being true to self in the state of disappointment, which appears to be chronic and insurmountable; leaving off to offer his good wishes to another:

             Tis midnight, but small thoughts have I of sleep:
             Full seldom may my friend such vigils keep!
             Visit her, gentle Sleep! with wings of healing.


” Don’t put all your belief into another in sustaining your own happiness in life – create your own happiness and trust that.

Life is fluid. Our ability to find happiness in the journey is directly correlated to how willing we are to let go and go with the flow.

It’s easy to fall into a downward spiral when our core is shaken by something we weren’t expecting. Do something that boosts you up instead of something that contributes to your sadness, anger and frustration.

I wish you Peace!”  ~ H.T.B.

This volume offers a revision of romantic poetry. The author argues that the form of disappointment examined by the romantic poet often finds him bewildered and oppressed, in a state beyond the simple failure of literary ambition or romantic love.

[The Poetics of Disappointment: Wordsworth to Ashbery by Laura Quinney]


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s