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Title: Life after Life : a reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Walter Benjamin
Author: Nabugodi, M. A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 7231 1078
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2016
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The title of this thesis, Life after Life, cites an essay by Jacques Derrida where he translates the title of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s last poem ‘The Triumph of Life’ into life’s triumph, a life after life, or else a living on, sur-vivre, Über-leben. The latter term, Überleben, is in its turn a citation from Walter Benjamin’s essay ‘The Task of the Translator’ where Benjamin conceptualises the life of literary works as their afterlife in future readings. This comparative reading of Percy Bysshe Shelley and Walter Benjamin begins with this intersection in the afterlives of their works. I explore their reception in contemporary literary theory with the dual aim of reading Shelley and Benjamin and reading how they have been read by other critics. The thesis is written under the ‘Creative Critical Writing’ strand of the Comparative Literature PhD, which has allowed me to develop my methodology in response to the material that I study. Central themes include translation, autobiography, disfiguration, poetic histories of language, the problems of historical representation, ekphrasis, tragedy, violence, and, finally, forgiveness as a force stronger than violence. I focus on Shelley’s translation of the Homeric ‘Hymn to Mercury,’ ‘The Triumph of Life,’ ‘The Defence of Poetry,’ ‘The Cloud,’ ‘On the Medusa of Leonardo da Vinci in the Florentine Gallery,’ and The Cenci. Of Benjamin’s works I read ‘On Language as Such and on the Language of Man,’ ‘The Task of the Translator,’ ‘Doctrine of the Similar’ and ‘On the Mimetic Faculty.’ Furthermore, I look at his ‘Critique of Violence,’ ‘Goethe’s Elective Affinities,’ Berlin Childhood around 1900, some of the methodological notes in ‘Convolute N’ of The Arcades Project, and ‘On the Concept of History.’
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available