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MINDS MOVING ON SILENCE: P.B. Shelley, Robert Browning, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot.

GOSDEN-HOOD, SERENA,LUCY,MONTAGUE (2015) MINDS MOVING ON SILENCE: P.B. Shelley, Robert Browning, W.B. Yeats and T.S. Eliot. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.



The purpose of this study is to explore the function and significance of the various representations and manifestations of silence in the poetry of Shelley, Browning, Yeats and Eliot. Attention ranges from specific allusions to the absence of speech and sound, to the role played by punctuation and poetic form. The choice of these poets stems from Shelley’s function as an acknowledged, influential precursor to both Browning and Yeats and, as an un-acknowledged, though arguably no less essential, influence on Eliot. The aim is to establish to what extent poetic interaction with silence alters and shifts in the period under study, and to make coherent the development from Shelley to Eliot in their fascination with silence, and its centrality to poetic expression.
The approach primarily involves close textual analysis of the poetry itself, the objective being to access a new angle of consideration by focusing on each poet’s particular relationship with silence, and the extent to which this cumulatively expands into either a coherent philosophy, or a series of recurring themes on the part of the poet. The thesis is also concerned with poetic influence. Theorists who have previously written on silence, such as Steiner and Wagner-Lawlor, are also engaged with, as are critics concerned with the specific poets and epochs addressed (e.g Bloom, Ricks, Keach, O’Neill, and Perry). Chapters look in turn at Shelley’s Mont Blanc, considering the role played by silence in the poem’s consideration of the relationship between imagination and nature (1); at the same poet’s treatment of the relationship between poetry and death (2); at Browning’s relationship with the unrealized objective, especially in relation to love (3); at the role of the silent auditor in Browning’s dramatic monologues (4); at the relationship between silence and the unknown in Yeats’s poetry, and the extent to which he substituted an aesthetic approach for Browning’s preoccupation with justice and pragmatism (5); at silence and the fertile nature of the contradictory in Yeats (6); at modernity and language’s simultaneous pursuit of, and resistance to, silence in the poetry of Eliot (7). Overall, the thesis demonstrates that to discuss the silence of poetry should be as natural, and as necessary, as to discuss the language of it.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2015
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 Jul 2015 09:53

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