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'A test for poetry': an examination of Louis Zukofsky's 'objectivist principles' and poetic practice

'A test for poetry': an examination of Louis Zukofsky's 'objectivist principles' and poetic practice

Allen, Robin Geoffrey (1985) 'A test for poetry': an examination of Louis Zukofsky's 'objectivist principles' and poetic practice. PhD thesis, Thames Polytechnic.

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My aim in this thesis is to examine Louis Zukofsky's poetry in relation to his stated objectivist principles using those principles and Zukofsky's unpublished statements as a test for his theory and practice.

The first chapter introduces Zukofsky's poetic principles and examines the relationship between his work and Ezra Pound's Imagism. My aim here is to put the origins of Zukofsky's principles into an appropriate context, disputing the idea of the `objectivist' as a temporarily revivified Imagist.

Chapter II examines Zukofsky's earliest verse, both umpublished juvenilia and the few early poems retained for publication. These poems all predate the `objectivist' statements and a comparison is made between these poems which anticipate the poet's later technique and those which do not. The chapter culminates in a study of `Poem beginning `The'' as the first identifiably objectivist work.

Chapter III is concerned with Zukofsky as editor and critic since it was in this dual role that he first expressed his poetic theory. The principles of this theory are examined in detail here and the relationship between Zukofsky's poetry and criticism closely defined.

The fourth chapter examines Zukofsky's shorter poems in the light of the critical framework provided by the `objectivist principles'. Individual poems are closely examined to reveal the `mechanism' of `objectivist' poetry and to facilitate a reading of Zukofsky's long poem `A'.

Chapters V and VI are concerned with the two halves of `A'. Attention is given to the poem's detailed composition and to its overall structure and movement. This analysis is guided by the overriding question of the application of `objectivist princples' to a long rather than a short poem.

The final chapter reviews Zukofsky's sustained critical idiom in both poetry and prose criticism and concludes that this idiom provides a flexible but principled and consistent framework for his life's work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Louis Zukofsky, literary criticism, objectivism, philosophical realism,
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
Pre-2014 Departments: School of Humanities & Social Sciences
School of Humanities & Social Sciences > Department of English & Performance Studies
Last Modified: 14 Oct 2016 09:15

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