Francesco Giusti

The Icarus Complex and the Swan Song, or Two Myths of the Lyric Subject

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Keywords: Icarus, techne, Lyric subject, Mimesis, Poetry

Two topoi show the ascensional quality of lyric poetry, its founding on an (ideal) movement from earth to heaven, actually a movement more invoked than realized: Icarus and the Swan. Icarus is a myth of the human desire to imitate nature, the attempt to create, by techne, something similar to the real object. But, in not being identical to divine creation, man's creation define itself as human. The Swan is the embodiment of the modern lyric speaker: a bird that does not manage to leave the ground behind. The human desire of elevation towards heaven, as a utopia of perfect sense, and its being unavoidably tied to earth. Between these two figures the lyrical subject defines itself.

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