Wild Swans Essay

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Wallace is a freelance writer and poet. In this essay, Wallace explores Millays ambivalence about the tension between pure intellect and deep passion.

The tensions are there for everyone: between mind and body, between reason and desire, between the purity of idealism and the complexities of reality. Humanity has always struggled with the push and pull between the animal and the soul which blend in human nature: ascetics have attempted to escape their flesh, and hedonists have tried to extinguish the intellect—both without much success. For writers, especially, the body-spirit division has been a favorite subject, perhaps because writers especially seem to suffer from it—their imagination and intelligence provide them with vivid intellectual visions, but, perhaps also more than others, they are susceptible to very human passions.

For Millay, one of the best-loved and most famously passionate poets of twentieth- century American letters, the tug of...

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This section contains 1,887 words
(approx. 5 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Wild Swans Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Wild Swans from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.