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… And Unto Dust Return: The Remembered Earth

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Part of the Analecta Husserliana book series (ANHU,volume 71)


The earth is a primal resource of human imagination; its conceptual and creative tie to literature is pervasive, in part, because of the profound ambiguity of our relationship to it. Home and prison, earth holds in bondage the life it sustains. The paradox of life as freedom and life as bondage gives rise to the conflicting task of holding to the good earth, yet becoming free of it. This paradox and conflicting effort forms a basic pattern in western thought. A deep ambivalence and generative tension frame metaphors in literature from the earliest mythic and creation stories to the most recent poetry. We will examine some of the best known poetic expressions within Western literature to discern the reflective character and lessons that this literature brings to our understanding of the human condition and cultural project.


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Have I told you of the rain?

It has come, across the arid plain

Beating a numb, dumb pattern

Of newly wakened life

On the patient face of clay:

The long laboring Earth

Sheds Her dusty cloak

And endures.

The dawn breaks, clear,

An unending tide

Of crimson wave,

Filters through resounding grave

Where mind and calling meet,

In the bleak morning gray.

Songs of joy and sorrow

Awaken in the remembered earth.

- L. Kimmel, Collected Poems, 1959

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© 2001 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht

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Kimmel, L. (2001). … And Unto Dust Return: The Remembered Earth. In: Tymieniecka, AT. (eds) Passions of the Earth in Human Existence, Creativity, and Literature. Analecta Husserliana, vol 71. Springer, Dordrecht.

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  • Print ISBN: 978-94-010-3795-2

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