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By Geoffrey H. Hartman, Jacques Derrida, Harold Bloom, Paul de Man, J. Hillis Miller

5 crucial and demanding essays by way of best post-modern theorists at the artwork and nature of interpretation: Jacques Derrida, Harold Bloom, Geoffrey Hartman, Paul de guy, and J. Hillis Miller.

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Like the protagonist in the Hardy story, he is disfigured, difigllri. defaced. And also as in the Hardy story, to be disfigured means primarily the loss of the eyes, turned to "stony orbs" or to empty holes. This trajectory from erased self-knowledge to disfiguration is the trajectory of The Trillmph of Life. The connotations of the pair deer/wolf. marking a change in the inscriptions made upon Rousseau's mind. go some way in explaining the presence of Rousseau in the poem, a choice that has puzzled several interpreters.

Reflections upon the common monality of artists lead to earlier presages of aesthetic whispers OUt of time: I go on consulting This mirror that is no longer mine For as much brisk vacancy as is to be My portion this time. And the vase is always full Because there is only just so much room And it accommodates everything. This sample One sees is not to be taken as Merely that, but as everything as it May be imagined outside time- 36 THE BREAKING OF FORM The vase, emblem both of Keats' Ode and Stevens' The Poems of Our Climate, is as full as the poet's own time is briskly vacant, the oxymoron strengthening Ashbery's own recovery of strength in the poem.

Why most strong poems in our tradition, from Wordsworth on, manifest this masochistic impulse of representation, even as they strive to pull aUlay /ro1ll initial ironies, is beyond my present capacity to surmise. Yet Ashbery's contribution to this necessity of representation clearly joins the Wordsworthian "enchantment of self with self": In the circle of your intentions certain spars Remain that perpetuate the enchantment of self with self: HAROLD BLOOM 29 Eyebeams, muslin, coral. It doesn't matter Because these are things as they are today Before one's shadow ever grew Out of the field into thoughts of tomorrow.

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