Thursday, 8 November 2012

Anyone for Tennyson?

Having been dragged like a sulky child to see Skyfall by my wife, I found the film surprisingly enjoyable (although I was dismayed that the opening song rejected the opportunity to use the words 'trifle' and 'eyeful').  I was particularly impressed by the deftness with which The International Tennyson Marketing Board (obviously an organisation with which to be reckoned) insinuated the end of Ulysses into the film, spoken by 'M':

We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven; that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.

I remember the commercial frenzy that ensued when some Auden was sprinkled over Four Weddings and a Funeral. I was a bookseller in St Albans then, and a tiny Faber pamphlet which  contained the poems, and which was hardly competitively-priced, flapped out of the the doors in sizeable flocks, its staples glinting in the sunlight, causing many a Poetry section manager to gibber with surprised delight.  I'm at The Bookshop in Welwyn Garden tomorrow and am eager to learn if this phenomenon is repeating itself.

In a time when poetry seems to be threatening a popular rehabilitation - Twitter today, for example, was buzzing with discussions about how to make the great reading public less averse to the form - I wonder if this inclusion in major films is the most efficient vector to accelerating the process.  The estates of our major poets could vie with each other to have Batman and Bourne pause in mid-action to stare reflectively at the camera and quote some Hopkins or Hughes, then sit back and wait for the tills to ring:  'You know what, Joker, at times like this, I always say to myself: 'The world is charged with the grandeur of God''.  What's good enough for Pepsi and Apple, after all...

This post leaves you with a brace of Bond-related books, namely:

Licensed to Kill a Mockingbird and

The Prophecies of Not-Stirred Damus'.

Sorry, and goodnight.

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