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Old 10-12-2002, 06:16 PM
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Utah
Posts: 9,440
Help me with "The Hasty Pudding". I don't get it.

Ok, I have to do a small, ten minute presentation thing on The Hasty Pudding for my American Lit class on Tuesday. I read it....then read it again. Then read it again. I'm pretty sure it's not a 3 Canto long poem about hasty pudding. My book describes it as "mock heroic, a form of satire that adapts classical epic, heroic style, to a trival subject."
Ok, I get that. Very clever. But surely itmust be more than that? why else would it be in my American Lit anthology? I suspect that it's really about America (hence the New England name for the food), but isn't that a rather odd metaphor? I can analyze the poem on its technical merits, but as for what it's about?

Normally I could do this myself, but this past week I have been sick, and I'm nt fully recovered....I'm still not all here, and I'm finding it rather difficult to think. I don't want you to do my homework for me....I just need a little push in the right direction.

Oh, I would link to the poem, but I can't find it....
Old 10-12-2002, 07:53 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Shadow of the Statue
Posts: 4,337
It really is about hasty pudding. That's pretty much it. Of course, it is also a sign that the author missed America, and that particular food which reminded him of America. (IIRC, he wrote it while in England.)

He takes a somewhat humble subject (hasty pudding), and forms a mock-epic poem about how great it is. Kinda funny, although not necessarily knee-slapping funny.

One of the reasons it's probably in the anthology is because it's about a symbol of American life, as well as an interesting example of a particular style (mock epic). In a way, it shows that America has become distinct and individual, since it's possible for Barlow to miss this distinctly American food.

(The above mostly regurgitated from what I remember of American Lit. I.)

I looked for a link to a copy of the poem, but I couldn't even find a copy at Project Gutenberg.
Old 10-12-2002, 08:26 PM
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Shadow of the Statue
Posts: 4,337
I found a copy online, but it has horrible HTML coding, so that you have to scroll sideways in order to read the cantos.

Well I'll be damned - reading that URL just now, I recognized the name. Since "Schwetman" is somewhat uncommon, I looked into things a little more. That link is from the Journal of Mundane Behavior*. The journal has a section called Outburst. This poem is online because of an article by a John D. Schwetman titled "Yummy, Steaming Bowls of Mundanity".

John D. Schwetman is the professor I had for American Lit. I, and who I currently have for American Lit. II.

I've only skimmed the article so far, but it seems that it might be of help to you, pepperlandgirl.

*(The Journal of Mundane Behavior is devoted to exploring that which is or seems mundane, and the influence of that mundanity on the world. I've read some of their earlier issues. It's pretty interesting stuff.)

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