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Title: 'Doubts, complications and distractions' : rethinking the role of women in language writing
Author: Critchley, E.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2010
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This dissertation concentrates on three women writers, Lyn Hejinian, Leslie Scalapino and Rosmarie Waldrop taken to be at varying degrees of proximity to the experimental writing movement known as Language poetry. It argues that the same (male) poets to secure a controversial reputation for this movement, by publishing large amounts of critical and expository tracts aimed at highlighting the group’s originality and political significance, inadvertently damaged the movement’s potential. The dissertation takes its cue from Ann Vickery’s Leaving Lines of Gender: A Feminist Genealogy of Language Writing. However, while Vickery looks in depth at the social formations of the Language grouping, this study concentrates on the work, particularly the poetics, of the writers involved. The first two chapters examine the varied intellectual background to the work of the women which comprises a plurality of phenomenologies, post-structuralist theories, feminisms and ideology critiques, as well as European Modernist (and contemporary) poetry and Eastern philosophy. The suggestion is that the self-reflexive forms of these poets’ thinking and writing are what render their work less easily categorisable, and thus more contiguous with the realities of their complex, cultural positioning. Through a close examination of the transnationalism of Waldrop, her negotiations ‘between world(s)’ (Marjorie Perloff) and gender positions; the phenomenological appearances in Hejinian’s writing, à la Gertrude Stein; and the continual deformations and ‘under-cutting’ (Scalapino) of cultural constructions and hierarchies in Scalapino’s texts; the next three chapters investigate how the work of these women can be seen to continue to contribute to important cultural questions of epistemology and thus, concomitantly, questions of ethics also. I conclude that these writers’ work explores many of the issues raised more recently by contemporary feminist criticism of the ‘third wave’.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available