The feminist romantic : the revisionary rhetoric of Double negative, Naked poems, and Gyno-text

Drodge, Susan (1996) The feminist romantic : the revisionary rhetoric of Double negative, Naked poems, and Gyno-text. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

"The Feminist Romantic" argues for the revision of romantic rhetoric and structures in three Canadian feminist texts: Daphne Marlatt and Betsy Warland's Double Negative (1988), Phyllis Webb's Naked Poems (1965), and Lola Lemire Tostevin's Gyno-Text (1983). In its analysis of the textual challenges posed by contemporary feminist writing, it recurrently reads the various rhetorical tropes of these three texts against the poetry of Blake, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Keats, and Shelley--poetry likewise engaged on both thematic and structural levels with subjectivity and its ensuing problematics. This dissertation attends to the paradoxical position of the female writer attempting to write her self, her body, and her subjectivity within traditional textual conditions that have recurrently repressed woman and her feminine economy of representation. "The Feminist Romantic" recurrently points to the ways in which Double Negative, Naked Poems, and Gyno-Text appropriate canonical strategies to create textual space for female being and to pose epistemological challenges to the authority of the governing symbolic. The first chapter of this dissertation reads Double Negative's representations of desire, fragmentation, and female agency against the poetry of Coleridge, Blake, and Keats and further draws upon Wordsworth's Prelude to comparatively analyze the ways in which Marlatt and Warland's sequence ultimately calls into question its own affirmations and authority. The second chapter argues for Naked Poems' figurations of female desire and feminine subjectivity as a radical rewriting of The Prelude--a revision that interrogates the strategies and epistemological foundations of the precursor text. The third and concluding chapter turns to Gyno-Text's promotion of a 'new' discourse on the textual energy and authority of the maternal body and considers the ways in which this text draws upon the poetry of Wordsworth, Blake, Keats, and Shelley in a renewal of conventional representational strategies that takes into account the generative force of maternality. The critical and theoretical framework of this dissertation is provided by contemporary Canadian criticism, poststructuralist criticism, particularly that of Geoffrey H. Hartman and J. Douglas Kneale, and the theoretical writings of Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, and Hélène Cixous.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/7288
Item ID: 7288
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 248-258.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > English Language and Literature
Date: 1996
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Marlatt, Daphne. Double negative; Webb, Phyllis, 1927-. Naked poems; Tostevin, Lola Lemire. Gyno-text; Romanticism; Feminist literature--Canada--History and criticism

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