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“The Long French Road to Spain”: Pilgrimage, Allusion, and the Documentary Mode in Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead

In a 1938 review for Poetry, Willard Maas critiques The Book of the Dead’s documentary mode, stating “the signs of the road lead her [Rukeyser] into fields that have been more adequately explored and tersely recorded by journalists” (Dayton 225). Similarly, The New York Times Book Review comments that The Book of the Dead “is the material for poetry, but it is not poetry. This is reporting and not the imaginative vision” (Dayton 225). Both reviews suggest that The Book of the Dead’s poetic form clashes with the work already done by documentarians and journalists. The reviews pointedly define their view of poetry’s confines: poetry is a vehicle for the imaginative process, not for the description of reality. In this essay, I argue that Rukeyser’s poem forgoes documentary and journalism’s appeal to objectivity¹ and delineates their generic boundaries by deconstructing the documents at the foundation of documentary and journalism. Rukeyser’s allusions to maps/travel guides and photographic reproductions function as reference points to understand the Hawk’s Nest tragedy, but Rukeyser is never limited to understanding the tragedy through “objective” diegetic modes. What her early critics fail to realize is how Rukeyser refashions the documentary mode for the Modernist mission: to broaden literature’s comprehension of human consciousness. The Book of the Dead wedges itself between subjective and objective truth, reaching for a space between the individual and collective consciousness. 


On March 31, 1930, the Union Carbide and Carbon Corporation broke ground in Gauley Bridge, West Virginia on a three-mile-long tunnel to divert part of the New River towards a recently built hydroelectric power station. The project drew around 3000 workers, three-quarters of whom were African American, who were looking for jobs during the height of the Great Depression. Union Carbide, in an effort to save time and money, put the men to work using unsafe drilling practices like “dry” drilling, which released silica dust into the unfiltered tunnel air. The working conditions caused many of the workers to develop silicosis, an incurable lung disease. While the exact number of casualties is unknown, Martin Cherniack’s The Hawk’s Nest Incident (1986) estimated the death toll within five years of the tunnel’s completion to be at least 764 workers², making it one of the US’s deadliest industrial disasters (Dayton 17-18). News of Hawk’s Nest spread slowly and was originally picked up by socialist magazines like New Masses and Daily Worker in late 1935. After a congressional hearing was held in 1936, 23-year-old poet Muriel Rukeyser and photographer Nancy Naumburg traveled from their coastal residence in New York deep into West Virginia to investigate the tragedy they had read about in the news. For the young poet and photographer, the trip functioned as a personal inquiry into the matter. Rukeyser and Naumburg originally planned a project in which photographs and text would be published side by side (Moore 10), but, for unknown reasons, this plan was scrapped. Instead, Rukeyser would publish The Book of the Dead in her poetry compilation U.S. 1 in 1938. Just as Rukeyser and Naumburg embarked on a journey into West Virginia, so too Rukeyser’s poem beckons its reader on a poetic pilgrimage of the Gauley Bridge tragedy as they travel the roads that “take you into your own country” (61). 


I cite the concept of pilgrimage to denote how The Book of the Dead reckons with the impossibility of communicating tragedy and individual experience. In the poem’s final section, entitled “The Book of the Dead,” the poetic voice reflects upon ancient European histories while simultaneously envisaging the future journey westward: 


and still behind us falls another glory,

London unshaken, the long French road to Spain,

the old Mediterranean

Before our face the broad and concrete west,

green ripened field, frontier pushed back like river

controlled and dammed; (118-119)


The lines imagine the poetic voice caught between a European past and an American future. Though the camino francés alludes to past histories, the poetic voice’s posturing, looking westward toward the future, suggests the roads left to travel. The Book of the Dead invokes pilgrimage as a means to interrogate the tethering of individual and communal experience.³ The Book of the Dead thus envisions its poetic form as an essential medium to communicate the experiences of others. Maps can document the point-to-point journey and photographs individual points along that journey, but poetry, according to Rukeyser, provokes a unique emotional transformation not afforded by other mediums.


When Rukeyser and Naumburg set off in 1936, journalistic recountings of Gauley Bridge had already been accomplished. The Book of the Dead instead exhibits Rukeyser’s claim that “[p]oetry can extend the document” (Gander 58). Poetry, for Rukeyser, offers a potential space beyond other diegetic modes, and I argue that the principal site of Rukeyser’s poetic extension centers on how she problematizes and extends The Book of the Dead’s topographical and photographic documents. 


Roads, Landscapes, and Maps

Rukeyser’s allusions to maps throughout The Book of the Dead outline their functions and limitations as documents. While the poem’s maps provide directions to a location, they are unable to represent the lived conditions of the people who occupy the abstracted spaces they represent. The poem opens with a sudden impetus to know one’s country, and this urge prompts an investigation via maps, the morning papers, phoning a statistician, and talking with a friend. But these epistemological means of knowing are too abstract; one’s country must be experienced in order to be known. The initial whim transforms into action as The Book of the Dead moves from the “tall central city’s influence” and “well-traveled six-lane highway” deeper into the heart of the U.S. towards West Virginia (Rukeyser 61). As the opening for Rukeyser’s larger U.S. 1: Poems, where the poem was initially published, these lines break with expectations that the poem will follow the eastern seaboard. U.S. Route 1 remains remarkably out of focus except in the poem’s opening contraction, its closing expansion, and a brief stint in Washington, D.C. In 1938, the same year The Book of the Dead was published, the U.S. Highway Association released their U.S. One: Maine to Florida, wherein they offer “a written description of the most important sections of the United States” (iii). While U.S. 1: Poems’s title is likely not a direct allusion to the highway guide, they share a common goal: to survey a place in time. In Rukeyser’s poem, the map itself only serves as a guiding principle; it remains the traveler’s responsibility to set off on the journey:


These roads will take you into your own country. 

Seasons and maps coming where this road comes 

into a landscape mirrored in these men. (62)


“The Road” anticipates the reader’s company on its expedition. The map itself, though, is a topographical representation, not just of the roads but of the people who inhabit its abstractions. These lines dramatically reverse the initial allure and power of the map to define an exterior place. In the poem's beginning, the map forms and informs the landscape. In the end, the road informs the map, giving way to a landscape that reflects its inhabitants. Having commenced the pilgrimage deep into West Virginia, Rukeyser’s representation of Gauley Bridge is no longer simply abstracted, geometric space.


The maps of The Book of the Dead direct the reader to a destination, but alsoat the same time present obstacles of scale and omission. In Muriel Rukeyser and Documentary: The Poetics of Connection, Catherine Gander draws on the work of W. J. T. Mitchell and interrogates how landscapes and renditions of it shape identity. She notes, “Mitchell asks that landscape be considered ‘not as an object to be seen or a text to be read, but as a process by which social and subjective identities are formed’” (167). Gander draws attention to how Rukeyser engages with the travel guide format, especially in how that genre produces a sense of national unity among distant readers (180). For Gander, Rukeyser’s poem consciously evokes the historical memories of the places it crosses through, similar to a travelogue. Gauley Bridge in the poem is not simply a dot between lines on a page. The map referred to in The Book of the Dead’s second line—“…you think of your country / and interested bring down the maps again…” (62)—may be a map of U.S. Route 1, but it is insufficient for the poet’s voice to find the road. In fact, as the speaker arrives closer to West Virginia, the maps seemingly lose their function. The speaker operates on ancient methods of travel, navigating the landscape not as abstracted roads on a map but as a landscape itself: “Select the mountains, follow rivers back / travel the passes. Touch West Virginia where…” (63). The lines indicate a mode of travel where the speaker uses their senses—following the river upstream, the mountains in the distance—rather than abstracted lines on a mass-produced map. The final stanzas of the section emphasize the new meanings given to the minutiae of local travel: 


but later, Hawk’s Nest. Here is your road, tying


you to its meanings: gorge, boulder, precipice. 

Telescoped down, the hard and stone-green river

cutting fast and direct into town. (63)


The lines highlight travel at a local level, “telescoped down” to the location’s geographic features. Rukeyser’s landscapes are no longer abstracted topologies; instead, they involve the immediate imagery that Rukeyser encounters. Rukeyser’s use of the second-person attempts to beckon the reader along Rukeyser’s journey as she navigates the geological and historical forces that form collective and individual identities. Rukeyser situates herself in the subtleties of Gauley Bridge and its environs; the spaces maps can’t depict.  

Rukeyser’s allusions to travelogues incorporate subjective identities into the documentary form. Catherine Gander reads The Book of the Dead’s second poem, “West Virginia,” as a stylistic allusion to the American Guides series. She notes how Rukeyser “moves swiftly through the landscape, indicating visual markers that evoke historical memory along the way” (186). Indeed, “West Virginia” tracks history much in the same way that U.S. One: Maine to Florida traces the chronicles of towns and cities along its titular road, yet among the geographic and historical work Rukeyser accomplishes in the section (imitating the American Guides series), she also merges subjective consciousness into documentary and journalism’s appeal to “objective” fact. She signals this shift with “Kanawha Falls, the rapids of the mind” (64) before re-submerging into historical narrative recounting the European “discovery” and Civil War conflicts. The section ends, though, with an invocation of the Hawk’s Nest tragedy and its victims: 


rapids boiled down,

a scene of power.


Done by the dead. 

Discovery learned it 

And the living? (65)


The narrative dwells on the dead victims of the incident, voices who only survive in accounts given by others. The rapids are replaced by the dam, a monument to its victims. The moment gestures toward one of The Book of the Dead’s central motives: testifying to tragedy created by corporate greed. “And the living?” elicits a call to carry the dead’s story after their passing—to conjure up their memories. While describing West Virginia’s history as a travelogue, her poem also excavates the stories and subjectivities buried beneath a travel guide’s allure.


Figure 1, Permission granted by the Rukeyser estate


Rukeyser’s own map of Gauley Bridge (Figure 1)⁴, dated in her hand to 1936, offers a pointed contrast to a contemporaneous guidebook map. While this map is never mentioned in the poem, it displays the same process of material and poetic personalization of abstract information (heard through the radio or a newspaper) into individual experience. As Justin Parks notes, “Rukeyser’s hand-drawn map…serves as an unintended analog to the journey into America the lines of the poem were meant to enact, offering a visual instantiation of the poem’s language…what is represented here is not so much an existing landscape as a mode of relationality in which geography becomes personalized” (164). The focalization of individual, personal elements of Gauley Bridge, like Glen Ferris and Lars Jones’s homes, demonstrates Rukeyser’s investment in the personalization of geographical information. Notably, the map’s function appears antithetical to a map’s presumed utility—to get from one destination to the next—especially since it neglects to include any roads. The map, instead, represents the landscape as Naumburg and Rukeyser are personally familiar with it, and the large car in the bottom-left corner emphasizes their inclusion in this space, if only for a short time. 


Rukeyser’s use of allusion in The Book of the Dead highlights the transformative process that allusion proffers. As a literary operation, allusion connects an outside text—the “guest text”—to the “source text.” As discussed with Rukeyser’s maps, the guest text introduced (i.e. the map she’s consulted) is vague and difficult to pin down, yet, at the same time, this imprecision can focalize the creative process that allusion accomplishes. In Allusion, Gregory Machecek ponders allusion’s lexicography, proposing different words for the guest and host texts. He eventually lands on “spur” and “reprise,” and his phrasing of “spur” highlights the author’s initial illumination or grasping—a moment that leads them to insert something else into their own text (529). His use of the word “reprise” stresses the author's creative ability to reformulate the guest into the host. “Reprise” suggests a musical transposition, where the author rewrites a melody with hints of an old tune. At the same time, his word choice accentuates the difficulty inherent in pinpointing the “spur.” Rukeyser, without a doubt, consulted maps and even created her own, but locating the exact “spur” is an impossible task. Extracting the vestiges of those consultations and creations requires a certain amount of readerly contrivance. While allusion connects two texts together, the connection between the texts is never static. Allusion leaves room for a generative exercise on the part of the reader, offering new interpretations and meaning to the source text.⁵ Text-to-text transformations and transposition underscore the instability of “text” as a singular construction and the inherent enigma of identifying the correct “spur.” The allusive properties of Rukeyser’s documents contrast markedly to the objective underpinnings of journalism and documentary. This is not to say that these modes can necessarily “objectively” transmit meaning between a cited guest text and the source text, rather, it is important to note that the intention behind the transference from guest document to source text is often different. Rukeyser’s documental allusions explore how documents transform and metamorphose when deployed as allusions. Not beholden to the aims of journalistic accuracy, The Book of the Dead seeks to generate new meanings through an allusive process where guest documents are (re)-interpreted and (re-)interrogated in the source text.


Allusions to the Camera’s Eye

While the maps Rukeyser alludes to represent reality as abstracted form, her photographic allusions freeze space and time. As Catherine Venable Moore notes in the poem’s introduction and accompanying essay, Rukeyser and photographer Nancy Naumberg initially envisioned a photo-essay (Rukeyser 9), a genre with which Rukeyser would later experiment. In this form, the writer and the photographer would have shared the page space, making a collaborative project and, arguably, a text where its photography was not allusive. Instead, The Book of the Dead alludes to the presumably hundreds of photos Naumberg took, of which only three survive. The photographs’ physical absence from the text underscores their textual presence, as Rukeyser’s poem is entranced by the world seen through the ground-glass. Though most of the “guest texts” remain lost, one can still perceive the interplay between spur and reprise. Allen H. Pasco’s theories on allusion provide us with a possible through-line for allusion’s generative processes, even though we lack the guest text. In Allusion: A Literary Graft, he defines allusion in horological terms: “One might say that the author has grafted another text on the rootstock of his creation. In an ideal environment, the two texts—plant and implant, stock and scion—bond to make a new creation” (6). Pasco posits that allusion conjures up a new “species” or new “texts” from the guest and host texts. Rukeyser’s poem poses a problem of particular interest for Pasco (and Machecek); namely, what happens when a guest text is perceptible and inaccessible? By considering how Rukeyser deploys her allusions to photographs, we can understand how her poem expands the photo as a document.


Interpreting the eye of Naumberg’s camera as allusive offers a glimpse into its grafted creations. In “Gauley Bridge,” Naumberg’s camera repeatedly appears as the poem laces the camera eye in the foreground: 

Camera at the crossing sees the city

a street of wooden walls and empty windows,

the doors shut handless in the empty street,

and the deserted Negro standing on the corner. 


The little boy runs with his dog

Up the street to the bridge over the river where 

Nine men are mending road for the government. 

He blurs the camera-glass fixed on the street. (68)


In the first stanza, the poet performs the work of ekphrasis, describing Naumberg’s presumed photographs in detail. No element of the photo is uncapturable; all its static features find their way into the lens. However, in the second stanza, the camera’s limitations become apparent. The movement of the boy and his dog obscures the photo as the poet describes a scene outside of the camera’s gaze—the highwaymen working for the government. As the poem continues, various other forms of glass and eyes proliferate: “coast to coast schedule on the plateglass window” (69), “Eyes of the tourist house” (69), “Glass, wood, and naked eye: the movie house” (69) and “always one’s harsh night eyes over the beerglass” (70). These viewing receptacles seemingly coalesce as the human and camera eyes become one. Both “eyes” provide visual evidence. In Image, Music, Text, Roland Barthes characterizes the press photograph as “a message without a code… …a continuous message” (17). Because these photographs profess to be a mechanical analog of reality (18), they are inherently meaningless. For Barthes, press photographs are purely descriptive, denoting reality and devoid of signification. Naumberg’s allusive photos in the text bypass Barthes’s critique by imbuing the images with symbolic significance (in particular, what the lens cannot contain). The allusive work is accomplished through the photos’ absence from the text, offering intertextual play between The Book of the Dead and its elusive photographs. 

The Book of the Dead remains wary of a complete substitution of Naumberg’s photos for the human experience. The final stanza of “Gauley Bridge” separates human from mechanical: 


What do you want—a cliff over a city? 

A foreland, sloped to sea and overgrown with roses? 

These people live here. (70) 


The harsh line, “What do you want,” is followed by an idyllic description of the perfect landscape photo, which is interrupted by the injection that “people live here.” Much like how maps cannot show the real lives of a place’s people, the camera lens offers only a frozen fragment of the individual experience. Even looking through the camera lens, The Book of the Dead’s photographer views a distorted image: “Now the photographer unpacks camera and case, … / viewing on groundglass an inverted image” (62). Catherine Gander notes how the newly-formed documentary genre relied increasingly “on the immediacy of visual impact” (23). Some of documentary’s pioneers even believed that “pictures and words truly supplemented one another, merging into a unified whole” (24). The Book of the Dead recognizes the danger of objectifying as it concedes that its subjects inhabit the poem’s paratextual environment. Rukeyser’s documentary material never sublimates its commitment to the true witnesses of the Hawk’s Nest tragedy: its residents. 


The importance of the camera’s reproducible image materializes later in the poem as the workers desire documentation to carry out the vital function of restitution and recognition. In “Absalom,” the speaker desperately tries to document silicosis among her family and their fellow workers. The poem’s speaker states: 


I tried to get Dr. Harless to X-ray the boys 

… 

I went on the road and begged the X-ray money, 

The Charleston hospital made the lung pictures, 

He took the case after the pictures were made. (80) 


The speaker believes that the X-rays will testify to the tragedy and that compensation will be given. In addition, when she does not obtain enough money for an X-ray of her youngest son, the son asks her to take his actual lungs as evidence. The reader never has to see the “guest text”—the X-ray—to provoke an affective response because, even unseen by the reader, the “imaginary” images provide substantiative proof of wrongdoing. The allusion grafts the guest document into The Book of the Dead, forming an entirely new creation wherein the poem asks the reader to take it at its word: the allusive document does exist and substantiates the speaker’s claims. 


At the same time, the X-ray as a document is never eclipsed by the community’s understanding of the event (and their knowledge of who passed away even without “objective” proof of the fact). The speaker invokes the surrounding communities as a testimony to the event’s happening: “Vanetta, Gauley Bridge, / Gamoca, Lockwood, the gullies, / the whole valley is witness” (81). For the community as witnesses, the documental X-ray was never a prerequisite to their knowledge that something happened. The X-rays only confirm what they already knew and function as evidence to bring before the company. In “Mearl Blankenship,” Mearl writes a letter expressing his suffering and its source as the poem dissects him like an X-ray: 


the rock mottled behind him 

like X-ray plate enlarged 

diffuse and stony 

his face against the stone. (78)


As the poem preceding “Absalom,” it foreshadows the confirmation of what the community already knew: the dust they had been drilling was toxic. The X-rays are mere extensions/confirmations of an already-known fact. 


Rukeyser’s allusions to maps and the photographic image document pieces of a larger whole, of the historical tragedy itself. In “The Disease: After Effects,” the two merge into one function: 


No plan can ever lift us high enough

to see forgetful countries underneath

but always now the map and X-ray seem 

resemblant pictures of one living breath

one country marked by error 

and one air. (112)


Both documents act as allusive surveyors of the country. They succumb to abstracting the lives of others through representational means, but they also function as concrete points of knowing, as evidence of what was. As documents, they reach into the past, recording that “one living breath,” that singular moment we cannot access. They are imperfect connective points, joining people as “one country.” Yet, at the same time, the maps and X-rays “seem resemblant” and cannot bring recourse to the Hawk’s Nest victims. Ultimately, the seeming connection afforded by the allusive maps and X-rays fractures as the tragedy recedes further into the country’s horizon—the “forgetful countries underneath.”


In “Rukeyser and the Poetics of Specific Critique,” Walter Kalaidjain characterizes The Book of the Dead as a “poetic travelogue” spurred by the creation of the hundreds of thousands of miles of road during the Depression and a newfound desire for “local histories.” While the term “travelogue” does capture a particular part of the narrative’s workings, encapsulating how the individual navigates their way through foreign communities, I suggest that the term “poetic pilgrimage” better captures the spiritual journey that Rukeyser beckons her reader to accompany her on. The Book of the Dead does this spiritual work by pushing beyond the confines of documentary’s objective discourse. Rukeyser’s poem doesn’t simply document tragedy; it probes its inner workings, interrogating “one country marked by errors.” And it does this specifically through its allusions. Its documents are not merely scenic points in a travelogue. They are treated like relics: attestations to what once was, imbued with significance. Rukeyser’s poetics transform the documentary into something else entirely. As its final poem, “The Book of the Dead.” attests: 


Defense is sight; widen the lens and see 

Standing over the land myths of identity, 

New signals, and processes:


Alloys begin: certain dominant metals. 

Deliberate combines add new qualities, 

Sums of new uses. 



Carry abroad the urgent need, the scene, 

To photograph and to extend the voice, 

To speak this meaning.


The poem’s mission appears as a double-sided call to reflect and recognize the “new signals, processes” and to venture forth with “urgent need.” Rukeyser’s poetics are a call to action, charging its readers to take up the work necessary to prevent similar situations. Rukeyser’s imperative—“to extend the voice, / to speak this meaning”—calls the reader on a pilgrimage. 

Tim Dayton points out in his essay “Lyric and Document in Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead that “the poem confronts what is arguably the fundamental problem of Modernist poetry: the rift between subjective meaning—the importance that one ascribes to some object or event as an individual—and objective values, the importance that one’s society ascribes to that object or event” (227). I would argue that the poem’s allusive documents blur the lines between individual and collective values. On an individual level, the documents hold personal significance. The maps direct Rukeyser to West Virginia, and the X-rays legitimate the worker’s fears. On a collective level, the documents testify, proving for the country the negligence that the project entailed. These documents are vital to the tunnel workers’ plight. As a committee forms to right the wrongs committed in “The Bill,” they request: 


We recommend. 

Bring them. Their books and record. 

Investigate. Require. 

Can do no more. 

These citizens from many States

Paying the price for electric power,

To Be Vindicated.


Investigation and the presentation of that investigation are the modes of recourse for the community. They “can do no more.” The final lines point to the community’s diverse roots (the majority of whom were African American workers) and reach beyond Gauley Bridge and its environs. The irony of “The Bill,” though, is that the documents were insufficient. After the subcommittee, new rules were set into place for industrial drilling, but the Hawk’s Nest workers received very little to no claims. The result epitomizes the documents’ insufficiency. The X-rays and testimonies move the subcommittee to alter future projects, but little is done for the victims of Hawk’s Nest. The call to “record, investigate, require” ultimately falls short of the community’s desire. 


This failure, for Rukeyser, represents the need to “expand the document.” The documentary and journalistic work on the Hawk’s Nest tragedy were inadequate to enact meaningful vindication for its victims. Rukeyser’s “poetic pilgrimage” recognizes the past, the pilgrims who came before, while petitioning for recognition of the tragedy’s victims. It is never beholden to the tenets of objectivity; instead, Rukeyser transforms its documents as allusive relics of the past, charged with individual and collective meaning. From its very beginning, the poem invites the reader alongside: “These are the road you travel when you think of your country” (61). And as the poem constricts and expands, other voices join in a polyphonic testimony to the tragedy at the hands of corporate greed. Rukeyser interrogates the specificity of tragedy: its locality. However, it is never limited to simply “documenting” tragedy. Instead, as a Modernist work, it prods at an expanded subjectivity beyond the confines of the individual by, on its most fundamental level, inviting the reader to travel “the long French road to Spain” and interact with its allusive documents. 

 

Notes


[1] By emphasizing that documentary and journalism often strive for objectivity, I recognize that these genres are caught up in what Richard Blumenburg calls “the problem of ‘truth” (19).  While they might often aim for independence from partiality or bias, they are never necessarily beholden to that goal. Rather, I want to underline that representing reality in a certain manner—i.e. the way it “actually” happened—often informs how these modes tell their stories and, especially, how they are received.

[2] Tim Dayton notes that Cherniack’s estimate is a conservative one. In 2002, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (a branch of the CDC) estimated that over 1000 people died in the incident (Spencer 45). 

[3] The communal element of pilgrimage suggests that the road traveled—for example, the camino francés—has been traveled by many before. The communal here, then, is a shared history of individual travelers.

[4] This map is cited in Justin Parker’s article as “Unpublished Introduction to book of photographs by Berenice Abbott…” (the full citation has been reproduced in my bibliography.). I contacted Barabara Bair at the Library of Congress to confirm this citation, but they were unable to locate the map at the cited location. Bair, using a finding aid, also looked through other archival files but was still unable to locate the document. The map is also cited in Catherine Venable Moore’s Introduction to The Book of the Dead as “Library of Congress,” but no further citation is provided.

[5] The title of the poem, an allusion to the Egyptian Book of the Dead, is an example of the impossible task of pinning the guest text down (and the generative process that this instability allows). As E. A. Wallis Budge, whose translation of the Egyptian Book of the Dead Rukeyser consulted, reminds his readers, “[t]he title ‘Book of the Dead’ is somewhat unsatisfactory and misleading, for the texts neither form a connected work nor belong to one period” (Budge). The reader is then left to construct the connection between the poem and the unstable text its title is borrowing from.


 

Works Cited


Barthes, Roland, and Stephen Heath. Image, Music, Text. Fontana/Collins, 1977. 


Budge, E.A Wallis. The Book of the Dead. British Museum, 1920. https://www.gutenberg.org/cache/epub/7145/pg7145-images.html


Blumenberg, Richard M. “Documentary Films and the Problem of ‘Truth.’” Journal of the University Film Association, vol. 29, no. 4, 1977, pp. 19–22. http://www.jstor.org/stable/20687386.  


Dayton, Tim. “Lyric and Document in Muriel Rukeyser’s ‘The Book of the Dead.’” Journal of Modern Literature, vol. 21, no. 2, 1997, pp. 223–240. 


—. Muriel Rukeyser’s The Book of the Dead. University of Missouri Press, 2015. 


Gander, Catherine. Muriel Rukeyser and Documentary The Poetics of Connection. Edinburgh University Press, 2013. 


Kalaidjian, Walter. “Muriel Rukeyser and the Poetics of Specific Critique: Rereading ‘The Book of the Dead.’” Cultural Critique, no. 20, 1991, p. 65., https://doi.org/10.2307/1354223


Machacek, Gregory. “Allusion.” PMLA, vol. 122, no. 2, Mar. 2007, pp. 522–536. 


Moore, Catherine Venable. Introduction. The Book of the Dead, by Rukeyser, West Virginia University Press, 2018, pp 1-51. 


Pasco, Allan H. Allusion: A Literary Graft. Rockwood Press, 2002. 


Parks, Justin. “Muriel Rukeyser’s poetics of extension and the politics of documentary photography.” Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory, vol. 71, no. 1, 2015, pp. 151–179, https://doi.org/10.1353/arq.2015.0003


Rukeyser, Muriel. The Book of the Dead. West Virginia University Press, 2018. 


—. Unpublished introduction to book of photographs by Berenice Abbott. 1946-47. Box II:12. Muriel Rukeyser Paper. Lib. of Congress, Washington D. C.


Spencer, Howard W. “The Historical & Cultural Importance of the Hawks Nest Tunnel Disaster.” Professional Safety PSJ, Feb. 2023, pp. 42-47. https://www.assp.org/docs/default-source/psj-articles/vpspencer_0223.pdf? sfvrsn=afa39647_0


U. S. One: Maine to Florida. Modern Age Books, 1938. 


Date submitted: September 15, 2023

Date accepted: November 9, 2023


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