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Title: The poetics of colour in Stefan George, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wassily Kandinsky and Else Lasker-Schüler
Author: Conquer, Grace Beatrice Rey Lawson
ISNI:       0000 0004 6495 9544
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis looks at the poetics of colour in Stefan George, Rainer Maria Rilke, Wassily Kandinsky and Else Lasker-Schüler. It argues that focusing on colour words allows us to think more carefully about the sort of making that poetry, around the turn of the twentieth century, was seen to be, its purpose and effects. In doing so it thinks also about this making-about the ways that words can be seen as the material of poetry, the ways poems relate to objects, and are objects, the ways poets negotiate semantic space and communicability. While other accounts argue for the specificity of a particular period, author, or hue, I argue for the specificity of the medium, a conclusion which seems necessary when considering how these particular poets thought about and through colour. While the poets' projects differ, colour can be used in each case like a prism, to separate out their attitudes and commitments towards their medium and its place in the world. The combination of these four poets, which is, to the best of my knowledge, unique, also allows new connections to be seen, whether, facing inward, in terms of colour itself, or outward towards the commitments regarding the poem that an approach via colour exposes. The four poets share an interest in the involvement, and in some cases, aesthetic education, of readers, and in how and what we can learn through reading, and particularly reading colour. What we learn has less to do with colours and how they are experienced than to do with the constructed world of the poem and its mechanisms, and of the role we have to play in animating this world.
Supervisor: Louth, Charlie Sponsor: Arts and Humanities Research Council
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Poetry ; Colour studies ; German literature ; colour ; expressionism ; poetics ; aestheticism