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Title: Aspects of the structure of Modernist poetry, 1908-1918 : a structural and comparative study of the poetic writing of Guillaume Apollinaire, Hans Arp, Hugo Ball, Georg Heym, T.E. Hulme, Max Jacob, Ezra Pound, Pierre Reverdy, and Georg Trakl
Author: Hermans, Theo
ISNI:       0000 0001 2321 128X
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 1977
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This dissertation offers a structural and comparative investigation into some of the 'principles of construction' operative in Modernist poetry in the English, French and German language areas in the first decades of the twentieth century. While the general scope of the study is fairly broad, its thematic focus is restricted to questions of poetic structuration and related theoretical issues. The method of analysis and description leans towards Formalist and Structuralist approaches to literature, and incorporates a diachronic as well as a synchronic dimension. Taking as a starting-point, in chapter 1, the synthetic and idealist conception which informs Mallarmé's Symbolist poetic system, the main body of the work then explores, in the eight chapters which follow, the poetic theories and practices of a representative selection of Modernist poets (Apollinaire, Arp, Ball, Heym, Hulme, Jacob, Pound, Reverdy, Trakl). The central argument pursued throughout these chapters rests on the contention that the diverse and often highly paradoxical modes of Modernist poetic writing are to be understood in relation (in opposition) to the basic categories of the Mallarmean aesthetic. The Modernist repudiation, whether implicit or explicit, of the Symbolist norm represents much more than a stylistic reaction. It implies, within the larger series of 'the Modern', a major theoretical reorientation, the construction of a new, non-idealist poetic, and the replacement of a metaphorical by a metonymic conception of poetic writing. The result is a radically altered approach to the function and finality of poetic language, to the status and nature of the poem, to the relation between poem and poet, between the poem and reality, and between the poet and reality. It is this momentum of reconsideration and reassessment which defines the space within which the various modes of Modernism come into being. In practice, the Modernist poem develops a powerful internal dialectic between on the one hand an impulse towards fragmentation and deconstruction, and, on the other, a tendency to objectivation, control, and reconstruction. In the Expressionist branch, where the role of socio-cultural elements is a contributory factor, the first impulse is particularly in evidence, and reveals strong existential overtones. The more 'constructivist' movements (Cubism, Imagism, Vorticism) appear preoccupied with the notion of the poem as a self-sufficient, self-reflexive entity, appealing at the same time to complementary moments of classicism and exploration. The paradoxes inherent in both branches of Modernism are finally radicalized in the Dadaist venture, which presents the point where the Modernist reconsideration of the categories of poetic writing reaches its ultimate extreme, while simultaneously creating the conditions for its transcendence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PN Literature (General) ; PQ Romance literatures ; PR English literature ; PT Germanic literature