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Title: Epic relation : the sacred, history and late modernist aesthetics in Hart Crane, David Jones and Derek Walcott
Author: Rumbold, Matthew
ISNI:       0000 0004 7425 5786
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2017
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In order to answer questions about the nature, viability and shape of what would constitute a modernist epic, this thesis explores three very different twentieth century writers, Hart Crane, David Jones and Derek Walcott. Rather than being a narrowly genre based study, however, I argue that in the twentieth century the ‘epic’ mode has become a malleable form with which to explore troubling legacies of history, empire and, to exhibit a dimension of the sacred in modernity. All three poets penned challenging epic poems (The Bridge, The Anathemata and Omeros respectively) in a condition of modernity. Haunted by the ruptures of history, in various ways, Crane, Jones and Walcott attempted to create an aesthetic which seeks cultural reintegration, recovery and reconciliation with the past. I analyse the formal experimental modernist aesthetic of each poet as they are anxiously and sometimes ambivalently influenced by the increasingly dominant institution of a particular form of metropolitan high modernism. This allows for a critique of modernity whilst contextualising a modernist inscription of imperialism. Finally, I show that the spiritual and religious concerns of these writers are essential in the recuperative or compensatory ideals of the epic. I argue that far from being an obsolete and impossible genre, for poets the epic is the very mode which best captures the transitions and conditions of an uneven and unequal modernity. I seek to show how through the trope of place (bridge, city, ruins, sacred sites and island), journey and the sea and other aesthetic devices, Crane, Jones and Walcott attempt to re-enchant emptied and destroyed cultural heritages.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: University of Warwick ; Oppenheimer Fund Scholarship for South Africans
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PR English literature