Grotesque Discoveries and Divisions in W.S. Merwin’s “The Folding Cliffs”

  • Adam Byrd

Abstract

The epic narrative poem The Folding Cliffs by W.S. Merwin reflects the idea of truth as a grotesque and divisive concept. Because The Folding Cliffs is based on historical accounts and oral tradition, it could be posited that it is a nonfiction work or at the very least based on a true story. This paper examines the concepts of truth and the grotesque and the innate relationship between the two. Establishing a definition of the grotesque, based on the ideas of Wolfgang Kayser, I identify four principles of the grotesque and use them as a lens for reading Merwins work. The concept that truth is distorted has become especially pertinent in light of the emergence of creative-nonfiction and the debate over what constitutes truth. Using Merwins piece as a vessel, I argue that truth is a fallacious concept, and that all so-called truths are fleeting and influenced by experiences and imagination.
Published
2014-04-03
How to Cite
BYRD, Adam. Grotesque Discoveries and Divisions in W.S. Merwins The Folding Cliffs. Utah Foreign Language Review, [S.l.], v. 21, apr. 2014. ISSN 2165-4905. Available at: <http://epubs.utah.edu/index.php/uflr/article/view/1177>. Date accessed: 21 aug. 2017.

Keywords

Merwin; Grotesque; Folding Cliffs