Yeats, Bloom and the dialectics of theory, criticism and poetry

Skelley, Steven J. (1992) Yeats, Bloom and the dialectics of theory, criticism and poetry. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis begins by showing how a strong and subtle challenge to poetry and theories of poetry has been recently argued by writers like Paul de Man and J. Hillis Miller—critics whose ironic linguistic "disfigurations" of lyrical voice have thrown poem and poet into an anti-mimetic free fall, an abyss of bewilderment or undecidability. To its credit, de Manian deconstruction strongly misreads various mimetic approaches to William Butler Yeats, as its corrosive irony empties out theories of imitation. Chapter two explains how New Criticism, biographical, psychoanalytic, and philosophical criticism, all treat Yeats's poetry as a reflection or imitation of some prior being, text, or doctrine; and chapter three how, most recently and energetically, various new historicisms treat his poems as ideological artifacts determined by the world or history, but as artifacts that must seek to change the world in order to have value.

Harold Bloom's theory meets such challenges. It enacts deconstruction's misreading of poem and poet without reducing them to a linguistic abyss; and it re-envisions mimetic approaches by reading poems in terms of genealogical influence, without moralizing. Chapter four investigates Bloom's vision of strong poetry as a "supermimesis" or in terms of gnostic figures of "negative transcendence." Bloom's work, however, also needs Yeatsian creative correction. As the fifth and sixth chapters show, it needs, like Yeats's poetry, to hold itself more open to the chaos of history. Invoking instruction from the very poetry that has so influenced Bloom's theory of influence, yet from which Bloom has turned away, this thesis re-interprets Yeats's poems and Yeats criticism generally. Using Yeats's openness to history to revise Bloom and his pragmatic theory of misreading to re-interpret Yeats, the thesis attempts to advance dialectically both Yeats criticism and Bloomian theory.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: McGuirk, B.
Murray, D.
Keywords: Yeats, Bloom, critical theory, poetry
Subjects: P Language and literature > PR English literature
P Language and literature > PS American literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Modern Languages and Cultures
Item ID: 13628
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 27 Sep 2013 07:11
Last Modified: 26 Oct 2016 13:22

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