Landscape, space and place in English- and German-language poetry 1960-1975

Thomas, Nicola (2017) Landscape, space and place in English- and German-language poetry 1960-1975. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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This thesis examines representations of space, place and landscape in English and German-language poetry of the period 1960-1975, a key transitional phase between modernity and postmodernity. It proposes that the impact certain transnational spatial revolutions had on contemporary poetry can only be fully grasped with recourse to comparative methodologies which look across national borders.

This is demonstrated by a series of paired case studies which examine the work of J. H. Prynne and Paul Celan, Sarah Kirsch and Derek Mahon, and Ernst Jandl and Edwin Morgan. Prynne and Celan’s 'Sprachskepsis' is the starting point for a post-structuralist analysis of meta-textual space in their work, including how poetry’s complex tectonics addresses multifaceted crises of representation. Mahon and Kirsch’s work is read in the context of spatial division, and it is argued that both use representations of landscape, space and place to express political engagement, and to negotiate fraught ideas of home, community and world. Jandl and Morgan’s representations of space and place, which often depend on experimental lyric subjectivity, are examined: it is argued that poetic subject(s) which speak from multiple perspectives (or none) serve as a means of reconfiguring poetry’s relationship to space at a time when social, literary and political boundaries were being redefined.

The thesis thus highlights hitherto underexplored connections between a range of poets working across the two language areas, making clear that space and place is a vital critical category for understanding poetry of this period, including both experimental and non-experimental work. It reveals weaknesses in existing critical taxonomies, arguing for the use of ‘late modernist’ as category with cross-cultural relevance, and promotes methodological exchange between the Anglophone and German traditions of landscape, space and place-oriented poetry scholarship, to the benefit of both.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Bartel, Heike
Harrison, Andrew
Göttsche, Dirk
Subjects: P Language and literature > PN Literature (General) > PN 80 Criticism
P Language and literature > PR English literature
P Language and literature > PT Germanic literature
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of English
UK Campuses > Faculty of Arts > School of Cultures, Languages and Area Studies
Item ID: 41884
Depositing User: Thomas, Nicola
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2017 04:40
Last Modified: 13 Oct 2017 01:10

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