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Title: Remaking it New: The Reorientation of Modernist Poetics in the Early Poetry of Louis MacNeice.
Author: Jones, Neil
ISNI:       0000 0001 3151 4109
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2006
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Abstract:
This thesis challenges the critical distinction that is often made between modernist and British 1930s poetry, and it argues that the aesthetic, politicaL and ideological concerns of both modes are more deeply interrelated than has been acknowledged. Concentrating on the earlier writings (1924-1935) of Louis MacNeice and considering uncollected and previously unseen poems and prose from private correspondence, notebooks, and literary journals alongside the poet's collected workl the influence of Modernism is shown to be integral to understanding MacNeice's poetic growth during this period. MacNeice's earliest writing from the 19205 is firmly rooted in the context of modernist experimentation in the arts and yet his poetry also encountered serious creative problems resulting from his attempts to follow the practices ofhis modernist predecessors. The need to overcome these difficulties forced MacNeice in the early 19305 to redirect certain aspects of the modernist aesthetic into new channels and it was this process of experimentation that led to the emergence of MacNeice's mature and distinct style of poetry with the publication of his first collection from that decade, Poems (1935). The gradual shift in MacNeice's poetry away from the underlying oneness of reality towards a celebration of plurality, the elevation of poetic incompleteness above aesthetic unity and closure, and the preservation of identity not through stability and separation but through the opening of the self to the uncertainties of its communal and historical contexts all demonstrate how Modernism contains the seeds of its own transformation into an aesthetic approach we now recognise as postmodernist. This thesis concludes with a discussion of MacNeice's greatest work of the decade, Autumn Journal (1939), and shows how this is the culmination and justification of the engagement with Modernism that characterizes the formative stage of MacNeice's writing career.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: University of Oxford, 2006 Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.487121  DOI: Not available
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