Monstrance : a baroque ontology of the present

Anderson, Alexander (2023) Monstrance : a baroque ontology of the present. Doctoral thesis, University of East Anglia.

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This creative-critical project functions as a ‘baroque ontology of the present.’ Its ‘creative’ contingent is in the form of a poetry collection called ‘Monstrance.’ This collection calls into question notions of biography and confession, and explores the ways these concepts might be mobilized as forms of cultural production. Written in a baroque, cinematic style the collection asks its reader to consider the tension between the ‘openness’ of confession and the highly artificed structures of the lyric poem; presenting them in a Caravaggist formulation, enacting of kind of lyric chiaroscuro between ‘earnestness’ and ‘artifice.’

The ‘critical’ contingent is called ‘I Illustrate nothing by living’: a triptych of three polemical essays. These essays pick up the poetry collection’s various conceptual proposals and apply them within a theoretical framework. My critical project is similarly interested in notions of confession and experiments with the ways in which ‘confessional logic’ might be used within a queer-ekphrastic register. A critical inquiry into modern and contemporary queer lyric and visual cultures, “I Illustrate nothing through living” asks its reader to consider the means by which the inanimate world could be mobilized as a form of self-signification. It also functions as a genealogical inquiry into the nature of the ‘baroque’ and the ways in which that term has been applied by various thinkers. Special attention is paid to the poetry of Frank O’Hara, Mark Hyatt, John Ashbery, Sean Bonney and Bob Kaufman. These poets, I argue, make use of a deceptively artificed mode in their work. Finally, I expand on some of the biographical details initially presented in the poetry collection through autocritical analyses of Caravaggio, Kenneth Anger, and Francis Bacon.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Arts and Humanities > School of Literature, Drama and Creative Writing
Depositing User: Chris White
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2024 13:18
Last Modified: 26 Mar 2024 13:18


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