‘_____’: Elegy’s Ghost and Stranger, Baby

Berry, Emily (2017) ‘_____’: Elegy’s Ghost and Stranger, Baby. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This thesis comprises a creative and critical exploration of grief, loss and absence in what I call elegiac writing. The critical portion of the thesis, ‘____’: Elegy’s Ghost, marks out the terms of my creative work, by examining how other contemporary writers have addressed these themes and by considering the uses and limitations of ‘elegy’ as a formal category. My particular interest is in writings that embark from a particular loss to explore loss itself as a concept beyond (or alongside) its object and how this manifests in language.
In chapter one I lay the groundwork for my study, which goes on to closely focus on elegiac works by three writers, Kristin Prevallet, Anne Carson and Noelle Kocot. This includes an overview of the history and evolution of elegy, looking at both the literary background and the influence of psychoanalytic writings in the genre, in order to position my argument. I maintain, for example, that Freud’s ‘Mourning and Melancholia’ has been profoundly misinterpreted. I argue that contemporary writers exploring grief often use the term ‘elegy’ ambivalently, as evidenced by their engagement with the concept in their work. My term ‘elegiac writing’ seeks to acknowledge this ambivalence in writings which – in keeping with the ‘vexed experience’ of writing about grief – wrestle with both content and form. Chapters two, three and four are each devoted to examining a single elegiac work, considering the different ways loss can be registered in language through, for example, holes, gaps, negation and obscurity. My poetry collection Stranger, Baby, written in conversation with the creative and critical works examined here, is an encounter with my own experience of grief and the process of writing about it. I conclude the critical portion of the thesis by reflexively examining this process and its relationship to my critical research.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature and Creative Writing (former - to 2011)
Depositing User: Bruce Beckett
Date Deposited: 26 Jul 2018 08:55
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2020 01:38
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/67859

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