An Explication Of Mina Loy's Poem "Lunar Baedeker".

2145 words - 9 pages

When read top to bottom, Mina Loy's poem "Lunar Baedeker" may sound like a story of drugs, sex, and desperation. In reality, it is an encrypted biography of part of Loy's life, as well as symbolic of the cycles of life. Let's start with the title, shall we?"Lunar Baedeker," the word 'lunar' means moon. It can also mean relating to the moon, but more importantly it can mean measured by the moon's cycles. What in the world is a "Baedeker" though? Baedeker is actually one Karl Baedeker, a German who, in 1859, published a series of guidebooks. Mina Loy's title, therefore, translates to either "a guide to the moon" or a " a guide to the moon's cycle or cycles."The first stanza is very autobiographical; it refers to Loy's falling in love with her second husband, Fabien Avernarius Lloyd, also known as Arthur Cravan. "A silver Lucifer/ serves/ cocaine in cornucopia" Silver here can be read as a shiny, white color, or highly persuasive, or a metal that has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity. Lucifer can mean a fallen rebel or a fallen star. If you read 'Lucifer' as 'star' it fits in well with Loy's celestial theme, but it is better construed as a fallen rebel, because Loy's second husband, Cravan, was constantly on the run for being a draft dodger. The fact that he was silver describes him as beautiful, pure, and persuasive. The fact that silver has the highest thermal and electrical conductivity says that he had a lot of sex appeal and "sparks flew" between him and the poet. Cocaine is a highly addictive substance that causes euphoric effect. The fact that it is "served . . . in cornucopia" makes Loy sound very much like a young girl who is giddy with love and cannot get enough of her beau.A rendition of the couple's bedroom life is in the next stanza: "To some somnambulists/ of adolescent thighs/ draped/ in satirical draperies" Though Loy has two children from a previous marriage, these lines make Loy sound like a virgin in her husband's bed. The term 'somnambulists' means sleepwalkers, which keys you into this pertaining to night activities. Thighs are a common representation of sexuality, as they are so close to the sex organs anyway, and by describing what I assume are Loy's own thighs as "adolescent" she represents her own sexuality as immature, underdeveloped, vulnerable and unused. By being "draped/ in satirical draperies" Loy says that her immaturity is hidden, but only by clothing or cloth that intentionally exposes and criticizes her puerility.Loy's third child, Fabienne, is referred to in the third stanza. "Peris in livery/ prepare/ Lethe/ for posthumous parvenus" Peris, which is not 'Paris' misspelled, is actually the plural form of the noun Peri. A Peri is a woman or girl who is descended from fallen angels and is excluded from Paradise. The term can also be used to describe a beautiful girl. Livery is servants' clothing, implying that this 'Peri' is not from a wealthy family. Lethe is the river in Hades that would erase one's...

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