Radically different: thinking the nonhuman in Wallace Stevens and Theodor Adorno and WITCH (poetry collection)

Tamas, Rebecca (2017) Radically different: thinking the nonhuman in Wallace Stevens and Theodor Adorno and WITCH (poetry collection). Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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My critical study argues that a majority of traditional ‘nature’ poetry has not formed a language able to confront the acute problems of our current environmental moment. I suggest that what is needed within poetry is a kind of ‘ecological’ writing, writing that is not only about ecological subjects, but is in itself ecological: open to the pattern of relations existent between the human and the nonhuman.
In my critical study I look at Adorno’s theories about the nonidentity of the nonhuman — the difference that human thought has suppressed in its attempt to achieve a unified and coherent identity — and how this nonidentity might paradoxically be revealed by the human foregrounding their inability to access it fully. Adorno argues that such nonidentical difference may be crucial in unpicking identificatory thinking practices, challenging the rigidity of reified human thought. I examine, through close reading, how Stevens’ poetry enacts the kind of paradox Adorno describes, moving between the intense desire to understand nonhuman life, and the awareness that nonhuman difference can never fully appear within human consciousness or language. The thesis argues for radical nonhuman difference as something able to emerge from the processes of flexible and resistive poetic language; a form perfectly suited to gesturing towards, though never fully containing, nonhuman difference, agency and being. In my critical study poetry demonstrates its ability to become ecological; offering up new cognitive possibilities the challenge the supposed coherence and rigidity of human identity and thought.
WITCH, the creative portion of this thesis, explores difference as it appears for ‘female’ and differently gendered persons. The poems in WITCH use the transformative potential of magic, witchcraft and the occult to question what a feminist poetic language might look like; gesturing towards gendered difference and oppression, without containing or commodifying it. This collection re-connects poetry to its origin in spell making and ritual, exploring contemporary ideas of alterity, knowledge and power.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Users 4971 not found.
Date Deposited: 27 Oct 2017 15:48
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2020 00:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/65286

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