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Shades of AuthorityThe Poetry of Lowell, Hill and Heaney$
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Stephen James

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9781846311178

Published to Liverpool Scholarship Online: June 2013

DOI: 10.5949/UPO9781846314049

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The Poet and the Tyrant

The Poet and the Tyrant

(p.29) The Poet and the Tyrant
Shades of Authority
Liverpool University Press

This chapter explores the poetry of Robert Lowell, specifically his interest in tyrannical personality traits. It suggests that his imaginative engagement with the thoughts and deeds of tyrannical personalities evinces a kind of appalled admiration, complicated at times by a degree of sympathy for their self-destructive tendencies. This is bound up with Lowell's attempts to make sense of the ‘tyrant delusions’ and megalomaniac fantasies to which he himself was susceptible at times of acute mental disturbance. The analysis includes works such as ‘Commander Lowell’, ‘My Last Afternoon with Uncle Devereux Winslow’, and ‘Stalin’.

Keywords:   Robert Lowell, poets, poetry, tyrants, tyranny, tyrannical personality

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