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Title: 'The Mirror Stage' and other Poems and The Linguistic Subject of William Carlos Williams' Spring and All
Author: Welsch, Jonathan T.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2685 3562
Awarding Body: The University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2010
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The poems in this collection draw, firstly, on my interest in a tradition of American confessionalism, which, particularly in the poems of John Berryman, seems to re-articulate the 'fragmented self of Anglo-American Modernism. A second major interest is in the more radical dislocations oflyric voice in John Ashbery's poetry. In the following poems, these two influences combine in the exploration of linguistic constructions of SUbjectivity, especially that of a knowing and knowable author figure. Specific practical concerns which stem from this central interest include translation and focalization strategies, polyphony, and oblique responses to philosophical, cultural, and literary contexts. These poems also explore questions of lyrical SUbjectivity in relation to constructions of gender and sexuality, with a particular focus on masculinity. I work from the premise that the authorial voice and its claims to truth, power, and sexual and gendered identity are . continually undermined by inner incoherencies and contradictions, a process of selfsubversion which these poems work to emphasize. Inmany places, this emphasis relates to a tension between a 'disembodied' authorial/lyrical voice and the 'embodied' form of the poem, which exposes that voice to textual inconclusiveness. This tension is also examined through the problematics of lyrical address and gendered relations between the'!' and 'you'. The Linguistic Subject of William Carlos Williams' Spring and All This thesis explores the discourse of authorial subjectivity at work in the declarative prose of William Carlos Williams' 1923 book, Spring and All, now regarded as a seminal text of American Modernism. In order to re-examine what has proven for critics to be a variously interpretable relationship between subject and object in Williams' early thinking, I read Spring and All here through an interconnected chain of conceptual frameworks. More. specifically, in hopes of remapping Spring and All's fragmented notion of authorial SUbjectivity against a more diverse history of ideas, these four chapters bring the longestablished influences of visual arts and Romanticism on Williams into juxtaposition with the less biographically or historically derived contexts of structuralist linguistics and Lacanian psychoanalytic theory. By drawing on correspondences among these contexts.this thesis finally argues for a notion of radically 'linguistic' SUbjectivity underlying Williams' early poetics, which may be productively compared to earlier philosophies of a mutually constitutive dialectic between external objects and a persistent centrality of the self, as well as later 20th-century revisions which emphasize the formalistic and linguistic nature of this relationship.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available