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Title: Speech, voice and parable : reading and writing through Auden (letters to Auden, a reading of his poems, and a serial poem of Barack Hussein Obama)
Author: Lewis, Dennis L. M.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5916 7198
Awarding Body: University of Essex
Current Institution: University of Essex
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis comprises three main components: firstly, close readings and critical analyses of four major poetical works by W.H. Auden—“The Watershed”, The Sea and the Mirror, “New Year Letter”, and “In Time of War”; secondly, ten semi-informal letters addressed to W.H. Auden; and thirdly, a serial poem consisting of short and long poems based on the speeches of the public figure, Barack Obama. The thesis proposes a creative writing discipline founded on the productive and intensive exchange between reading and writing poetry, and reflection through letter writing. The chapters of critical analysis argue the following: firstly, that through his idiosyncratic handling of syntax and voice in poems like “The Watershed”, Auden introduced a new element of the uncanny into English poetry; secondly, that in The Sea and the Mirror, Auden re-evaluated his poetics and altered his poetic voice in response to a new reading public; thirdly, that in the “New Year Letter,” Auden uses tone to expand the range of his poetic voice; and fourthly, that in the sonnet sequence “In Time of War”, Auden uses parable to combine lyric and narrative elements in order to universalise the Sino-Japanese War. Some of the issues raised in the chapters of critical analysis, such as poetic truth, poetic voice, the lyric subject, and parabolic writing, are elaborated on in the letters to W.H. Auden. Finally, the Serial Poem presents 74 short and long poems produced using appropriative writing procedures. The idea that runs through all parts of this thesis is that speech, voice, and parable are crucial elements in the poetic practice of W.H. Auden, and that close attention to these three elements through all stages of this project— critical reading and writing, letter writing, and creative writing—has contributed to the development of a rich and productive poetic writing practice.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General) ; PN0080 Criticism ; PN0441 Literary History ; PR English literature ; PS American literature