We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. By continuing to browse this repository, you give consent for essential cookies to be used. You can read more about our Privacy and Cookie Policy.

Durham e-Theses
You are in:

The Eastern European Context of Poetry in English after 1950

CLEGG, JOHN,RICHARD (2014) The Eastern European Context of Poetry in English after 1950. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

PDF - Accepted Version


This thesis investigates some developments in English poetry brought about by the rapid influx of translated work from Eastern and Central Europe (especially Poland, Hungary and former Yugoslavia) in the period following the Second
World War. As well as providing models for many English poets at the level of technique and motif, this work served as catalyst in wider poetical and political debates, especially concerning literalism in translation, issues of persona arising from psuedo-translation, and propriety of response when dealing with atrocity. ‘How dare we now be anything but numb?’, asks Donald Davie in his ‘Rejoinder to a Critic’; examples from Eastern European poetry in translation have been one of the means through which certain modern poets have negotiated a tentative response to that question. The individual chapters of this thesis offer close readings of poets including Ted Hughes, Charles Simic, Tom Paulin, Donald Davie, and Patrick McGuinness, as well as in-depth analyses of two long poems, Ken Smith's Fox Running and Richard Berengarten's In a Time of Drought. The work of each poet is contextualised, drawing out latent Eastern European connotations and connections. Each close reading illuminates a particular broader issue: the turn to
folklore and myth (in Smith and Berengarten), contested definitions of the surreal (in Simic), and the ‘right to speak’ on behalf of (or in the voice of) certain groups or on certain occasions (in Davie). Propriety of response and poetic responsibility are examined in a discussion of several English poets' treatment of the Bosnian war, while the chapter on Hughes explores literal translation and the mechanics of influence. Considering these poems in this context expands our sense of the period and of the poems
themselves, as well as allowing us to posit a common source for several distinct features of postwar poetry.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2014
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:30 May 2014 10:13

Social bookmarking: del.icio.usConnoteaBibSonomyCiteULikeFacebookTwitter