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dc.contributor.advisorSpinks, Lee
dc.contributor.advisorMilnes, Tim
dc.contributor.authorHale, Dominic
dc.date.accessioned2021-11-11T12:14:45Z
dc.date.available2021-11-11T12:14:45Z
dc.date.issued2021-12-07
dc.identifier.urihttps://hdl.handle.net/1842/38248
dc.identifier.urihttp://dx.doi.org/10.7488/era/1514
dc.description.abstractThis thesis is an account of how the poetry of William Wordsworth (1770-1850) offered a horizon for very different post-war English poets working in, through and after explicitly modernist poetic traditions. It aims to reorient our understanding of twentieth century British poetry by exploring Wordsworth’s importance for a triumvirate of highly original readings of history, place, politics, and social life. The three poets whose work this thesis attends to in detail are Basil Bunting (1900-1985), Geoffrey Hill (1932-2016), and J.H. Prynne (1936—), because these late modernists have all become, in turn, influential figures, each attracting a gathering critical literature though my specific subject remains under-examined. These poets are of particular interest because Bunting, Hill, and Prynne have also all been involved in reading and responding to the American high modernists T.S. Eliot (1888-1965) and Ezra Pound (1885-1972), significant poets who themselves largely criticised and repudiated Wordsworth’s work as part of a broader Anglophone modernist avant-garde front which railed against romanticism and its legacy as understood through the work of conservative Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian poets. The three figures whom I spend the bulk of this dissertation reading recognise in distinct and sometimes contradictory ways that the examples of Pound and Eliot were unavoidable if one wanted to write an ambitious poetry advanced enough to think through the century of world wars, American imperialism, global capitalism, and communist revolution. At the same time, for these poets the principled objection to the reactionary and fascist politics and tastes of their modernist antecedents licensed a concerted return to certain poets Pound and Eliot had rejected, with Wordsworth foremost among them. The first chapter presents an appraisal of Bunting’s masterpiece, Briggflatts (1965), arguing that this long poem of personal history constitutes a serious, Poundian attempt to reengage and rethink Wordsworth’s poetry and especially The Prelude of 1805. I argue that Briggflatts recalibrates The Prelude’s traumatological concept of the ‘spots of time’, in which a memory of formative love is painful, abortive, and malfunctioning. Developing this argument, the second chapter turns to Geoffrey Hill’s Mercian Hymns (1971) and its considerably divergent engagement with The Prelude, reading in that sequence a dazzling tussle between the poetic examples of T.S. Eliot and Wordsworth. I argue that Hill’s characteristically elegiac, oblique poetic autobiography uses Wordsworth to think through the dialectic of personality and impersonality in a melancholically conservative reading of English history. The third and final chapter locates its most forceful and complex interpretation of Wordsworth’s poetry in the work of J.H. Prynne, reading in ‘Thoughts on the Esterházy Court Uniform’ and the dialectical lyrics of The White Stones (1969) a passionate critique of late capitalist modernity, founded on Prynne’s deep engagement with poems by Wordsworth including ‘The Solitary Reaper’, The Prelude, and ‘Tintern Abbey’.en
dc.contributor.sponsorArts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC)en
dc.language.isoenen
dc.publisherThe University of Edinburghen
dc.subjectJ.H. Prynneen
dc.subjectGeoffrey Hillen
dc.subjectBasil Buntingen
dc.subjectWilliam Wordsworthen
dc.subjectTintern Abbeyen
dc.subjectThe Preludeen
dc.subjectSolitary Reaperen
dc.subjecttwentieth century British poetryen
dc.subjectAmerican high modernistsen
dc.subjectpoetic autobiographyen
dc.titleMaimed ones: Wordsworth and Late Modernismen
dc.typeThesis or Dissertationen
dc.relation.references'Briggflatts', Basil Bunting, 1965en
dc.relation.references'The Prelude', William Wordsworthen
dc.relation.references'Mercian Hymns', Geoffrey Hill, 1971en
dc.relation.references'The White Stones', J.H. Prynne, 1969en
dc.type.qualificationlevelDoctoralen
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen


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