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Title: The difficult matter : a reading of the poetry of J.H. Prynne
Author: Campbell-Johnston, Rachel
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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The main focus of the Modernist revolution was the perceived breakdown in the universalising and rationalist metanarratives of the Enlightenment, the grand theories which had grounded Western politics, art and ethics for the last two hundred and fifty years. This thesis begins with a general overview of the characteristics which distinguish Modernist movements in art from those which precede them. The thesis then goes on to divide these Modernist movements into two principle strands. The one, a strand rooted in a Symbolist tradition, stemming from the poetic of Baudelaire and before him of the Romantics. This was to culminate in the "high" Modernism of Eliot, Auden or Yeats. The other, a distinct, yet contiguous, strand, stemming from the anti-Symbolist practices of Rimbaud. This was to generate what has since been termed a Postmodernist poetic. The former, "high" Modernist strand still retains a basic referentiality, a fundamental symbolic coherence implying some metaphysical or deeper unity. The latter, "Postmodernist" strand is characterised by a radical indeterminacy. Refusing any form of mimesis or consensus, its multiple perspectives refuse to coalesce or resolve into any transcendent or more profound whole. It is transition from a "high" Modernist to a Postmodernist aesthetic which the poetry of J.H. Prynne rehearses. Through close readings of a number of representative poems this thesis shows how his work moves away from nostalgia for foundational modes of thought towards a completely written textual surface, eschewing extrinsic reference entirely.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available