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Title: 'Ludic passage' : abstraction in post-war British literature, 1945-1980
Author: Ferris, Natalie
ISNI:       0000 0004 6424 5736
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis traces a line of literary experimentation in post-war British literature that was prompted by the aesthetic, philosophical and theoretical demands of abstraction. Spanning the period 1945 to 1980, it observes the ways in which certain aesthetic advancements initiated new forms of literary expression to posit a new genealogy of interdisciplinary practice in Britain. It is the first sustained chronological study to consider the ways in which a select number of British poets, authors and critics challenged the received views of their post-war moment in the discovery of the imaginative and idealizing potential of abstraction. At a time in which Britain became conscious of its evolving identity within an increasingly globalised context, this study accounts for the range of Continental and Transatlantic influences in order to more accurately locate the networks at play. Exploring the contributions made by individuals, such as Herbert Read, Ian Hamilton Finlay and Christine Brooke-Rose, as well as by groups of practitioners, such as the British concrete poetry movement, small press initiatives and Art & Language, this thesis offers a comprehensive account of the evolving status of abstraction across cultural, institutional and literary contexts. The discussions build a vision of an era that increasingly jettisons the predetermined critical lexicon of abstraction to generate works of a more pragmatic abstract inspiration: the spatial demands of concrete poetry, language as medium in the conceptual artwork, the absence of linear plot in the new novel.
Supervisor: Beasley, Rebecca Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Abstraction in literature ; Art ; Abstract--20th century ; Art and literature ; English literature--20th century--History and criticism ; Great Britain--Intellectual life--20th century