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Title: What need of many words? : writing and self-representation in Wordsworth's 'The Prelude' and Pound's 'Cantos'.
Author: Gill, Julian.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1993
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The thesis investigates parallels between the poetic theories and practices of William Wordsworth and Ezra Pound with reference primarily to The Prelude and the Cantos and to the prose writings of both poets. It argues that their work evolves in response to a common set of difficulties centred on the problem of the subject's relationship to language. Particular attention is given to the division revealed between what current criticism designates the enunciation and the enounced and for which Jacques Lacan provides the related terms the Symbolic and the Imaginary. The thesis explores the different strategies adopted to negotiate a set of related oppositions revealed by the writing process: between writing and experience; writing self and written self; thought and language; unconscious and conscious. Wordsworth's theory of 'spontaneous overflow' is contrasted with Pound's of writing as a unified act, but both are seen as the means whereby the writing process itself is rendered central to the concerns of their poetry. Chapter 1 considers Pound's responses to Wordsworth, and locates the argument of the thesis within a critical and theoretical context. Chapter 2 shows how in a strikingly similar manoeuvre both poems immediately throw open the question of the poet's relationship to language and to the empirical world. Chapter 3 returns to earlier versions of each poem to illustrate the formative role such problems had in their initial development. Chapter 4 considers how in both cases a poetics articulated as a 'search for sincere self-expression' develops strategies to overcome the division between self and language. Chapters 5 and 6 investigate with what success each poem negotiates a position for the poet in relationship to language. Chapter 7 draws together and broadens the arguments of the thesis, suggesting how The Prelude and the Cantos implicate us in different ideologies of reading.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Literature