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Title: The representation of fecundity and barrenness in the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Christina Rossetti, and the Bible : a critical and creative interrogation of a Christian-feminist poetics
Author: Mann, Rachel
ISNI:       0000 0004 6499 4411
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2017
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This thesis analyses the language of fecundity and barrenness in the poetry of Elizabeth Barrett Browning and Christina Rossetti, as well as producing original poetry in critical conversation with their poetics. Concentrating on key Barrett Browning and Rossetti texts, Aurora Leigh and Goblin Market, I shall explore how their language of fecundity and barrenness make available a poetics which is simultaneously feminist and Christian in character. This interrogation will be contextualised in Romantic and Victorian theories of women’s writing which claim that women’s poetry cannot escape conceptions of femininity as bodily fecundity; that is, theories which suggest that women’s bodies are suitable to produce children, but lack the character and strength to produce the acme of cultural production, poetry. By analysing Barrett Browning and Rossetti’s language of fecundity and barrenness in conversation with feminist literary theory and Christian feminist theology, I shall explore how these critical partners make available fresh readings of femininity as fecundity. I will interrogate how it is possible to argue for interpretations of Barrett Browning and Rossetti’s poetry which re-work fecundity as femininity in creative, liberative directions as disruptive excess. The creative aspect of this thesis, The Priest in the Kingdom of Love, is a sixty-six section poem. It attempts to create a monological, multivalent voice which investigates its relationships with imagined hearers, gender, faith, and bodily fecundity. The critical chapter which precedes it attempts to interrogate continuities and aporia with the work of Barrett Browning and Rossetti generated by my gender and religious poetic performances.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available