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Title: Adrian Henri and the Merseybeat movement : performance, poetry, and public in the Liverpool scene of the 1960s
Author: Taylor, Helen Louise
Awarding Body: Royal Holloway, University of London
Current Institution: Royal Holloway, University of London
Date of Award: 2013
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The thesis focuses on the Merseybeat movement and its manifestations in Liverpool in the 19605, with particular emphasis on the work of Adrian Henri. The Merseybeat movement - centred upon Adrian Henri, Roger McGough, and Brian Patten - was a site-specific confluence of the alternative avant-garde and the British populist tradition of art, and deserves exploration as both a literary and a cultural phenomenon. The thesis argues that the dismissal of Merseybeat as 'pop poetry' has come from using the wrong critical tools: it is better viewed as a 'total art' movement, encompassing not only poetry but also visual art, music, comedy, happenings, and other forms of artistic expression. The thesis is primarily concerned with the performative and collaborative aspects of Merseybeat. As well as considering this particular movement in terms of oral performance and audience communication, this research also contributes to our understanding of the dissemination of this poetry - particularly how its audiences experienced live poetry alongside other artforms and media. I have used the term 'crossmedia' to refer to the way in which a piece can blend media and to explore how a piece can be performed in different ways to suit different occasions, appropriating elements from various artforms to create a unique performance instance. The thesis has been divided into five chapters in order to consider, first, the movement's origins (in the city of Liverpool) and suggested antecedents (in the American Beat scene), and second, its three most important facets: live readings, performances with music, and visual art practices. The work draws on literary geography, performance studies, and visual art theories, and I have also undertaken much new archival research and interviews with both performers and audience members in order to present a 'thick description' of not only the events but also the context in which they arose.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Adrian Henri ; Roger McGough ; Brian Patten ; Merseybeat ; Liverpool poets ; performance poetry ; crossmedia ; oral poetics ; total art