I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
in secret, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way
than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes as I fall asleep.
Pablo Neruda(100 Love Sonnets)
Welcome back to the fine Ladies of The Blue Bookcase, and in answer to the question – “Discuss your thoughts on sentimentality in literature. When is emotion in literature effective and when is it superfluous?”. My answer is that anything written is reliant on artifice to convince the reader of it’s veracity, it becomes more a case of how they deal with it, to make it work, like sleight of hand, when done well, all you see is the magic. If not, what you see is some fool playing with their hands. If we then apply this to something as fundamental as our emotions, then the strings the writer uses to pull at us must be finer than gossamer, must be of the most subtlest art, if we are not to see them standing there, just a clown with their box of tricks.
Which brings me to the poems here, both deal with the idea of love, and yet both deal with the subject as a normal expression, Neruda speaks of love as elemental, it’s not fireworks and roses, it’s more basic, soil-like, it’s more essential and yet this poem is full of emotion, this is a love that has not diminished either parties, but created a greater whole.In the 2nd, the poem is even more routed in the everyday, specifically states the individual doesn’t want all the Mills & boon, she’ll be loved by men not flowers, & yet it’s still magical.
WHEN SHE wakes drenched from sleep
She will not ask to be saluted by the light
Nor carolled by morning’s squabbling birds,
Nor lying in his arms wish him repeat
the polite conversations already heard;
She’ll not be loved by roses but by men,
She will glide free of sweet beauty’s net
And all her senses open out
to receive each sensation for herself.
If I could be that real, that open now
And not by half a light half lit
I would not gossip of what beauty is and what is not
Nor reduce love to a freak poem in the dark.
Brian Patten (Love Poems)
So my answer to the question “When is emotion in literature effective”, that for it to be effective it must be part of the whole, not an add on, it must be more shade, not a spotlight highlighting every vague nuance “ Nor reduce love to a freak poem in the dark.”