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Introduction & Overview of The Mystery by Louise Glück

This Study Guide consists of approximately 22 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Mystery.
This section contains 261 words
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The Mystery Summary & Study Guide Description

The Mystery Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Further Reading on The Mystery by Louise Glück.

To appreciate fully the meaning of and drive behind Louise Glück's "The Mystery," it is helpful to read the entire collection, Vita Nova, in which this poem is included. Published in 1999, Vita Nova, which translates into "new life," explores the poet's emergence from the despair and loneliness that plagued her for years after her husband left her. Her previous collection, Meadowlands (1996), recounted the deterioration of her marriage and Vita Nova picks up where that book left off: Glück's life after divorce, drawing from a mixture of allusions to distraught lovers in Greek mythology and to her own plight as a rejected, sometimes self-pitying, woman. But "The Mystery" can be read and enjoyed as a single poem as well, and it stands on its own as an uplifting testimony to spiritual, emotional, and intellectual rebirth.

Perhaps uncharacteristically for Glück, this poem's extended metaphor is based on mystery writer Rex Stout's series of novels and short stories featuring the renowned detective Nero Wolfe. The rotund, sedentary, and brilliant detective is known for his love of food and orchids as much as his uncanny knack for solving crimes. Glück uses the idea of mystery to describe her rise from the bitter depths of sadness and abandonment, likening the process to one of a person who has emerged from the dark to become "a creature of light." In essence, she is able to find resolution for at least some of her emotional pain and in doing so she has "acquired in some measure / the genius of the master"—in this case, Nero Wolfe.

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This section contains 261 words
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Poetry for Students
The Mystery from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.