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'That horror and doom very nearly related to Elizabethan tragedy': Djuna Barnes, T.S. Eliot, and the tragedies of relation

Lowe, Katie Jemma (2011)
M.Phil. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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This thesis explores the relation between the works of Djuna Barnes and T.S. Eliot, largely through the lens of his preface to Nightwood, in which he claims that Barnes’ novel possessed ‘the great achievement of a style, the beauty of phrasing, the brilliance of wit and characterisation, and a quality of horror and doom very nearly related to that of Elizabethan tragedy’ [Barnes, 1985: 7]. For both authors, the tragic was a means of expressing two polarities of human experience – the primal, and the divine. Both, however, rely upon a pre-linguistic sensation that underpins both constructed and instinctual mechanisms of society. The relations of the family, and of gendered identities, therefore, are revealed as central paradigms for thinking about Barnes’ and Eliot’s works. These schemes of relation may also be observed on a wider scale for both authors in their approaches to their literary and historical genealogy. The presence of the past in both authors’ works is undeniable, creating an intertextual web of connections which can be viewed as constraining, or liberating; as an oppressive past that may never be overcome, or as a springboard from which to progress.

Type of Work:M.Phil. thesis.
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
Department:Department of English
Subjects:PR English literature
PS American literature
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:1662
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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