A study of deixis in relation to lyric poetry
This thesis is an examination of the role of deixis in a specific literary genre, the lyric poem. Deixis is seen as not only a fundamental aspect of human discourse, but the prime function in the construction of 'world-view' and the expression of subjective reference. In the first part of the thesis current problems in deictic theory are explored and the relationship between deixis and context is clarified. A methodology for the analysis of deixis in any given text is constructed and the pragmatics of the lyric poem described. The methodology is applied to detailed analyses of selected lyric poems of Vaughan, Wordsworth, Pound and Ashberry. There is a demonstration of how deixis contributes to the functioning of the poetic persona, and the changes in deixis occurring diachronically in the poetry are examined. In conclusion it is demonstrated that although deixis necessarily reflects the changing subjectivity of the poetic persona through time, there are many elements of deixis which are constant across historical and stylistic boundaries. There remains a tension between the constraints of the genre, the necessary functions of deixis and the shifting subjectivities which that deixis reflects.