Dover Beach- Dover Bitch

Matthew Arnold- Dover Beach

          liminal space: famous seaside resort; closest point in England to France (vulnerable location)

          dramatic monologue

          transition between romantic poetry and the Victorian

          faculty being emphasized

o   glamorizing/ supporting England

o   intended to suggest England at height of powers

          shift in geographical perspectives → tranquil, reliable, dependable scene (just like England)

o   “only” suggest shift


o   waves and the rhythm of their movement

o   long and short lines: visually represent the seas; layout echoes the meaning

§  under the sea- undercurrent

§  looks table but underneath there is constant changes

o   pebbles like people, pulled back and flung up like “ignorant armies”; turmoil

o   cliffs: chalk face, millions of years of deposits of algae

§  sense of insecurity as he watches them erode

          shift in historical perspectives (Greeks)

o   someone long ago also listened and also heard the misery

          religious crisis: evidence to support evolutionary theories (fossils) were found at Dover Beach

o   IRONY: amateur geologist also reverends; found the perspective of evolving from apes horrifying

          fins a thought in sound, response to the sea

          (Sea of Faith) protecting world like girdle/ belt; metaphysical image

          sea is Faith; common belief that unifies people and unites them

          lost the Faith that united us

          sea is retreating  over edge of world; can’t see it anymore→ Faith is lost

          difference between way things look and way things are now

          our time is troubled, undergoing rapid changes, nothing is reliable

          different factions in society disagreeing with one another

          burden is on listener to make everything ok

          typically Victorian: looking to woman to save them (they are the cornerstone of virtue, value and morals

          public and private poem


Anthony Hecht- The Dover Bitch

          parody  (trivializing Arnold’s poem): imitation of an original makes it amusing by exaggerating or illuminating by exaggerating

          title: ambiguous→ bitch = complaining, or comment on woman?

          gossiping narrative

          trivializing comment on turmoil, insecurity, desperation of Arnold’s poem

          she’s seen as a prostitute, fantasizing about him/ job

          she wants to go to France; wants luxury, the good life

          was he nervous because it was his first time?

          relationship was casual, depiction of woman’s view and society

o   not supportive of women, she’s not in her prime anymore

          nuit d’amour: perfume/wine…inference to earlier French  images she desired

o   society of this poem is being criticized: women then were savior, now are hookers



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