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Title: Models of memory : cognition and cultural memory in the poetry of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost
Author: Charlwood, Catherine
ISNI:       0000 0004 6349 0860
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis brings together the poetry of Thomas Hardy and Robert Frost, revealing their respective work as peculiarly engaged with memory. Poetic memory is examined at different levels: not just what it means actively to remember, but also how a poem might be more or less characteristically memorable. Hardy and Frost are also revealed as poets who see the unique properties of poetry as a genre in which certain phenomena, people and places might be remembered, if not preserved. While having a strong basis in close analysis and literary history, the project breaks new ground in setting concepts familiar to poetry scholarship within a scientific framework. Interdisciplinary in nature, this thesis uses evidence from psychological experiments to emphasise the cognitive fundamentals which underpin those Hardy and Frost poems remembered as aesthetic or cultural artefacts. Four core chapters explore issues of expectation, recognition, voice and identity, showing the meeting points for Hardyean and Frostian memory and offering new readings which connect these canonical figures. Throughout, the thesis foregrounds Hardy’s and Frost’s concern for local memories. Beginning with how the formal properties of Hardy’s and Frost’s verse appeal to human cognitive pre-dispositions, the project ends by considering how identity is culturally conditioned, and how Hardy’s and Frost’s poetry restores to significance those individuating features otherwise forgotten by cognitive and cultural memory systems. Using archival material and the respective letters of Hardy and Frost alongside the poems allows this project to offer a thorough reading of a topic close to both poets’ hearts. Beyond a study of two specific poets, this thesis also reveals why and how poetry might be sought after as a valuable mnemonic device and sheds new light on the act of reading poetry.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council ; University of Warwick
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature