Read Ebook John Brown's Body Î Stephen Vincent Benét –

A uest and under stress It brings out the best and "the worstNB Other epics worth exploring are Beowulf staple of 12th grade English Song of Roland and Sundiata set in Africa "worstNB Other epics worth exploring are Beowulf staple of 12th grade English Song of Roland and Sundiata set in Africa Gilgamesh John Brown s Body won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 and it is a remarkable work It is an epic poem of 15000 words largely of blank pentameter verse that covers the raid at Harper s Ferry and pivotal scenes in the Civil War until Lee s surrender at Appomattox There are eight fictional characters that comprise north and south soldier and non soldier men and women white and black slave and freemen They are introduced to round out the story of the Civil War and the actual events and leaders You learn pretty uickly that all of their lives are pretty bleak but they soldier on nevertheless There is a fair amount of coverage to John Brown and the other twenty one raiders of the Arsenal at Harper s Ferry This is all five star material This only makes up the first few chapters To appreciate the rest it is helpful to know of the other major Civil War battles and a long list of generals from both sides Some caveats Benet is not sympathetic to the Southern cause while at the same time his tone is at times patronizing to slaves and freemen and he does use a lot of slave dialect and language that ninety ears later is not politically correct Benet s verse is unsurpassed Here a few stanzasThis one regarding the fragility of the union Thirteen sisters beside the seaHave a care my son Builded a house called LibertyAnd locked the doors with a stately keyNone should enter it but the freeHave a care my sonThe walls are solid as Plymouth RockRock can crumble my son or this one about an innocent bystander shot by Brown s men He fell by the station platform gripping his bellyAnd lay for twelve hours of torment asking for waterUntil he was able to dieThere is no stoneNo image of bronze or marble green with the rainTo Shepherd Heyward free negro of Harper s Ferry or this one about John Brown and his son John Brown did not try to sleepThe live coals of his eyes severed the darkness Now and then National epics do not make for good poetry Virgil for instance pales in comparison with Homer And of Tennyson s patriotic poems the Remarkable poem which the Wall Street Journal describes as a half forgotten piece of middlebrow literature whose own legacy is as ambiguous in its way as Brown s that tells the Civil War story through the eyes of both Northern and Southern characters with vignettes of the major historical playersAlmost as long as the Iliad and a little longer than the Odyssey the term epic though rejected by Benet certainly fits Panoramic in scope Benet portrays the sufferings of all the players with fairness and sympathy Very rich and evocative writing full of details of the landscape of both North and South and much colorful writing about the seasonsHere was October hereWas ruddy October the old harvesterWrapped like a beggared sachem in a coatOf tattered tanager and partridge feathersScattering jack o lanterns everywhereTo give the field mice pumpkin colored moons Book 1But fall in the SouthFall of the uail and the firefly glowsAnd the pot pourri of the rambler roseFall that brings no promise of snowsI absolutely loved the work The poem possesses a nobility that is uite uncommon in American literature an elevated tone that is deeply appropriate The poem won the Pulitzer Prize in 1929 but seems to have completely dropped off the radar of the American community of letters I can t understand why the poem is completely approachable engagingly written and the subject matter is of immense interest to the reading public It s long overdue for critical re appraisal Thanks by the way to Bruce Lambert for bringing this to my attention My opinion of this is mixed I love the lyrical history of the war Stonewall Jackson wrapped in his beard and his silenceCromwell eyed and ready with Cromwell s shortBleak remedy for doubters and fools and enemiesHard on his followers harder on his foes An iron sabre vowed to an iron Lord etc etc but I don t much care for the story pieces of the epic poem I tend to skip over the. Eaders and civilians North and South amidst the conflict Generations of readers have found the book a compelling and moving experience. ,

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Potomac He does a lot of marching he s tired as hell and sick to death of Virginia He does some marching faster now Eventually he realizes he s not in Virginia any He recognizes the landscape from his Horn (Horn, youth fields he had plowed only a couple ofears earlier Of course he s from Adams County and the AOP is approaching his home near the county seat at Gettysburg Benet does a spectacular job of describing in iambic whatever the climactic charge on 731863 which results in the soldier losing an arm Postwar the former Union soldier no longer a boy peacefully drives a team of plowhorses over a field between Seminary and Cemetery Ridges I highly recommend this novel An extraordinary work I have read it through three times and dip into it often for favorite passages Every page has images brilliantly presented Sometimes there comes a crack in Time itselfSometimes the earth is torn by something blindSometimes an image that has stood so longIt seems implanted as the polar starIs moved against an unfathomed forceThat suddenly will not have it any He had no gift for life no gift to bringLife but his body and a cutting edgeBut he knew how to die Since I was begotten My father s grown wise But he has forgotten The wind in the skies I shall not grow wisePresident Lincoln praying O Will of GodI am a patient man and I can waitLike an old gunflint buried in the groundWhile the slow ears pile up like moldering leavesAbove me underneath the rake of TimeAnd turn in time to the dark fruitful moldThat smells of Sangamon apples till at lastThere s no sleep left there and the steel eventDescends to strike the live coal out of meAnd light the powder that was always thereAt the end of John Brown s trial There was a noise of chairs scraped back in the court roomAnd that huge sigh of a crowd turning back into menBenet humanizes the Civil War in ways no other work I know of does He moves effortlessly back and forth between "Northern and Southern between Southern aristocracy bleak New England farmers slaves President "and Southern between Southern aristocracy bleak New England farmers slaves President He creates than characters he creates living people This brilliant passage about John Brown is only one of many examples He had the shepherd s gift but that was allHe had no other single gift for lifeSome men are pasture Death turns back to pastureSome are fire opals on that iron wristSome the deep roots of wisdoms not et bornJohn Brown was none of theseHe was a stoneA stone eroded to a cutting edgeBy obstinacy failure and cold prayersDiscredited farmer dubiously involvedIn lawsuit after lawsuit Shubel MorganFantastic bandit of the Kansas borderRed handed murderer at PottawattomieCloudy apostle whooped along to deathBy those who do no violence themselvesBut only buy the guns to have it doneSincere of course as all fanatics areAnd with a certain minor prophet airThat fooled the world to thinking him half greatWhen all he did consistently was fail JBB is not a book to be approached lightly It deserves time and attention But it rewards that time and attention as only those few truly great books can do My favorite book of all time It is a a 300 page epic poem mostly blank verse but rhyming in important passages which includes each of the classic stages of a Homerian epic The language and diction are superb and the blank verse is beautifully evocative It covers two protagonists at the beginning of the civil war one from the North one from #The South Author Stephen Vincent Benet Paints #South Author Stephen Vincent Benet paints word portraits of all the key generals and politicians as well as some of the key battles It is the best book on the Civil War spoiler alert for Texans and Southerners the North winsIt made me into a Civil War aficionado It also covers John Brown s raid in detail All of it is fascinating The two protagonist soldiers Jack Ellyat from Connecticut and Clay Wingate from Georgia exemplify the two different sides and are with us for the duration of the war I looked up names places and battles history of John Brown prison camps on both sides etc as I read I taught this in summer school 12 the 1st summer period and the other the next I love epic poems because they explore human behavior when on. Of great energy and sweep it swings into view the entire course of that terrible and decisive war lighting up the lives of soldiers Wow is my response to this incredibly ambitious book length treatment of the Civil War using poetry in a variety of forms This is a complex book and I find that it isn t accurately treated in a lot of descriptions of it especially those that call it narrative and blank verse Though it has narrative strings they are broken by multiple perspectives as well as expository and lyrical sections making it arguably modern There is blank verse his best free verse prose ballads rhymed couplets in tetrameter his worst etc It is primarily a book of many voices and perspectives providing a broad experience of the tragedy of the Civil WarI discovered this book at my local library and decided I should read it since I have an interest in longer works Notice I said should rather than wanted to I m not a history buff especially not a fan of war stories Also when I first cracked the book to get a feel for it I struck an early saccharine passage about Sally Dupre who is not so sweet and simple as she develops Uhg I suspected there would be a lot of that but thankfully there isn t Benet also tends to juxtapose sentimentalsaccharine passages against those that are stark portrayals of harsh realities in fact some of the juxtapositions are brilliant Sometimes he uses sing songy rhymed couplets for subject matter that makes the whole passage ironicIt amazes me that this book has not been a subject of serious criticism but I can guess why The poetry though it has stellar moments is not stellar overall Some of it could simply have been prose where meterrhyme is used it can be clunky Though I eventually came to watch carefully when he slipped into couplets for how he was using the form to underscore an event or personality or turn it on its head I still cringed as I readYet the book is complex and fascinating It does not take a simplistic or even heroic view of this conflict which is what I suspectedexpected The menboys are imperfect good some days and in some circumstances and not so admirable during others Not only did I get caught up in the tapestry that Benet weaves but at the end I would have been happy were there not already too many books and too little time to turn around and begin again because I think the second read would have been richer now that I see all he was trying to accomplish all that he "EVENTUALLY PORTRAYS ABOUT WAR BEING HUMAN "portrays about war being human American America itself about being flawed and the outcomes of actions large and small The book also made me curious about the battles of the Civil War and the key players than I ever have beenSo me curious about the battles of the Civil War and the key players than I ever have beenSo Definitely a keeper Don t let the length of this poem scare Damian (The Caine Brothers you It is FASCINATING Well ifou are interested in the Civil War that is And I am So it is A sweeping history of the Civil War in 300 pages of poetry It might not sound exuisite but it was Benet used so many different styles of verse and always crafted them perfectly It took a prodigious talent to pen John Brown s Body but there were them perfectly It took a prodigious talent to pen John Brown s Body but there were that dragged out so long and so formally that they became difficult to follow and it was a difficulty that subtracted something some wild joy from the reading experience a joy that I first felt when I picked up the book that I wanted to continue feeling I read this in another edition than 20 Driven by Desire years ago I minored in English manyears before that and really hated reading long pieces of poetry The Faerie ueen comes to mind but there were others best forgotten John Brown s Body was different somehow I initially dipped into it in a book store saw that it was written in a style that seemed to have an aw shucks nature that I expected to despise but proceeded to to totally enjoy I hadn t previously read much specifically about the Civil War only the Red Badge of Courage and the relatively brief passages in American History texts I was aware for the most part of the events and their ultimate military and political ramifications but not of the personal human costs and rewards JB sB changed that Benet follows a half dozen or so individuals stories as the war progresses I particularly remember a Union soldier a farmer from Pennsylvania in the Army of the. One of the most widely read poems of our time John Brown s Body is Stephen Vincent Benet s masterful retelling of the Civil War A book. ,

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John Brown's Body

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