Lepidopterology Essay

Jesper Svenbro
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Trudell is an independent scholar with a bachelor's degree in English literature. In the following essay, Trudell discusses Svenbro's commentary on literary aesthetics throughout the first two sections of Three-toed Gull in order to analyze the poet's treatment of poetry and linguistics in “Lepidopterology.”

“Lepidopterology” is one of the more accessible poems of Svenbro's collection, with its clear narrative progression and its single extended metaphor in which a butterfly, in its various stages of development, is compared to the human psyche. Like many of the other poems in Three-toed Gull, however, it is also a subtle and challenging meditation on language and aesthetics, a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of beauty. Its dramatization of the “seemingly insoluble conflict between dream and reality” that locks itself into a closed cocoon is a reference to poetry, another type of cocoon that holds language in one place. The...

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This section contains 1,619 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Lepidopterology Study Guide
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