Daphne in the twentieth century: the grotesque in modern poetry

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Title: Daphne in the twentieth century: the grotesque in modern poetry
Author: Martin, Thomas Henry
Abstract: This dissertation seeks to expose the importance of the grotesque in the poetry and writings of Trans -Atlantic poets of the early twentieth century , particularly Ezra Pound , H .D . , William Carlos Williams , Mina Loy , Marianne Moore and T .S . Eliot . Prior scholarship on the poets minimizes the effect of the grotesque in favor of the more objective elements found in such movements as Imagism . This text argues that these poets re -established the grotesque in their writing after World War I mainly through Hellenic myths , especially myths concerning the motif of the tree . The myths of Daphne and Apollo , Baucis and Philemon , and others use the tree motif as an example of complete metamorphosis into a new identity . This is an example of what Mikhail Bakhtin entitles grotesque realism , a type of grotesque not acknowledged in art since the French Revolution . Since the revolution , the grotesque involved an image trapped between two established forms of identity , or what Bakhtin refers to as the Romantic grotesque . This grotesque traps the image in stasis and does not provide a dynamic change of identity in the same way as grotesque realism . Therefore , these poets introduce the subversive act of change of identity in Western literature that had been absent for the most part for nearly a century . The modern poets pick up the use of the complete metamorphosis found in Hellenic myth in order to identify with a constantly changing urban environment that alienated its inhabitants . The modern city is a form of the grotesque in that it has transformed its environment from a natural state to a manmade state that is constantly in a state of transformation , itself . The modern poets use Hellenic myths and the tree motif to create an identity for themselves that would be as dynamic in transformation as the environment they inhabited .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -2736
Date: 2009-05-15

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Daphne in the twentieth century: the grotesque in modern poetry. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -2736 .

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