Women poets, feminism and the sonnet in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: an American narrative

Craddock, Jade (2013). Women poets, feminism and the sonnet in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries: an American narrative. University of Birmingham. Ph.D.

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Initially developed and perfected by male poets, the history of the sonnet has been characterised by androcentrism. Yet from its inception the sonnet has also been adopted by women. In recent years feminist critics have begun to redress the form’s gender imbalance, but most studies of the female-authored sonnet have excluded the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and thus one of the most important periods in women’s history – the rise of feminism – leading to a flawed narrative of the genre. Repositioning Edna St. Vincent Millay as the starting point in a twentieth-century tradition, this study begins where most others end and examines how the emergence and development of feminism, specifically in an American context, underscores a significant female narrative of the sonnet that emerges outside of the male tradition. By reading the works of Edna St. Vincent Millay, Adrienne Rich, Marilyn Hacker, Marilyn Nelson and Moira Egan within their specific feminist contexts and within the broader trajectory of feminism, it is possible to see how women in the era took ownership of the form. Ultimately, the thesis suggests that feminism has shaped an important narrative in the history of the genre that means today the sonnet is no longer exclusively male.

Type of Work: Thesis (Doctorates > Ph.D.)
Award Type: Doctorates > Ph.D.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of English, Drama and American & Canadian Studies, Department of English Literature
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PS American literature
URI: http://etheses.bham.ac.uk/id/eprint/4158


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