Vattimo’s Decline of Art in Gertrude Stein’s ‘A Substance in a Cushion’ El declive del arte en “A Substance in a Cushion” de Gertrude Stein según Vattimo

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Mahnoosh Vahdati


Reading the poem “A substance in a Cushion”, by Gertrude Stein, and at the same time reciting the old, elevated poems of the great poets of the past, one would unconsciously question what it means to be a poet in the modern and postmodern world. When someone recites a traditional poem, like any simple piece of poetry by Wordsworth or Coleridge, he or she will be stunned by how they would make lots and lots of momentous lines out of a straightforward natural element in the world. This contrast is what Gianteressio Vattimo calls the decline of art in the modern world. This essay focuses on one of Gertrude Stein’s iconoclastic poems called “A Substance in a cushion” and applies Vattimo’s ideas concerning the decline of art to his interpretation. Most people nowadays detest the tendence of the modern and post-modern works to shatter the forms, meanings, and the whole notion of real poetry. Poetry should have some rules and obligations, which are what makes it exquisite. Modern artists present anything as art or poetry. Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) was an avant-garde and feminist poet. Her poems do not hold a fixed meaning but offer a kind of unconventional experience.


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