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Title: Seeing through language : the poetry and poetics of Susan Howe, Lyn Hejinian and Rosmarie Waldrop
Author: Gaffield, Nancy Johanna
ISNI:       0000 0004 5362 2292
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2014
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Despite the vast amount of critical writing on the Language movement, little attention has been paid to the specific linguistic and cognitive processes involved both in the creation and comprehension of this innovative work. Motivated by the assumption that an experience with literature is an experience with language, this study investigates the poetry and poetics of three writers closely associated with Language writing and their works in the 1980s: Susan Howe and The Europe of Trusts and Articulations of Sound Forms in Time; Lyn Hejinian and My Life; and Rosmarie Waldrop and The Reproduction of Profiles. The approach taken in this dissertation is to investigate innovative writing with reference to linguistic and cognitive features through the perspective known as cognitive poetics which emphasizes the primacy of the reader in the experience of literary reading. The thesis offers insights into both the psychological and linguistic aspects of literary reading, shifting the focus from interpretation--whether that of the author or that of the critic--to the basis of these aspects in textuality. Textuality concerns both the material text as object, but also the connections the reader makes between stylistic features and felt experience. This dissertation thus addresses literary writing as discourse--as a social act of communication, incorporating other voices, viewpoints, times and cultures. It is suggested here that the complex interplay between word and grammar, world and ideology evident in these texts is connected to Language writing and contemporary verse culture more generally, and that cognitive poetics offers an explicit way to account for the effects of the syntactic experimentation and ideologies of this writing. Especially relevant to this study has been the tendency to site language in landscape to create what I call a poetics of languescape. The collection of poetry, Continental Drift, that completes this study emerges from these correspondences.
Supervisor: Herd, David Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature ; PS American literature