BA. Conrad Aiken


12. Prelude. Dial 84 (June 1928): 472-74.

Included in a list of objects that remind the speaker of ‘the bickerings of the inconsequential, / The chatterings of the ridiculous, [and] the iterations / Of the meaningless’ is an ukiyoe print, Utamaro’s ‘Pearl-fishers’, the print of ‘three fisherwomen’ that carries the speaker to a ‘world of serenity and perfection’ in the short story ‘Field of Flowers’ (11). The world depicted in the print, as in earlier work by Aiken (see especially 9), is set in contrast with the troubled world of the speaker. Aiken’s reading of the work is recorded in ‘Robert Fitzgerald, Marya Zaturenska, Robert Lowell, Conrad Aiken [and] William Empson Reading Their Own Poems’ (Washington, D.C.: Library of Congress Recording Laboratory, 1951). Reprinted as part I of Preludes for Memnon: Or, Preludes to Attitude (New York: Scribner, 1931), and in Selected Poems (New York: Oxford UP, 1961; reprint, New York: Schocken, 1982) and Preludes (New York: Oxford UP, 1966).





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