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Thom Gunn and the occasions of poetry

Fan, ChunKit (2007) Thom Gunn and the occasions of poetry. PhD thesis, University of York.

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This thesis reads the majority of Gunn's oeuvre while exploring some overarching questions about what it means to construct a poet's career as a single story, for example, as a traditional story of development and maturation over the course of the poet's lifetime, or as a more specific coming~out tale reflecting a gradual acceptance of and growing openness about homosexuality. Exploring the failure of such narratives to explain Gunn, the thesis follows Gunn's commitment to what he calls 'the occasions of poetry', an eloquently evasive definition of writing in which the poet seeks to be authentic to the occasion rather than a singular, unified poetic self. Instead of recording a changing story of the self constituted over time, Gunn's occasional self tends to speak anonymously, dissolving into different poses and disguises, defined only in the interplay with others, in the fluid, casual, non~hierarchical contemporary world he inhabits. Tracing Gunn's tendency to foreground identification rather than identity, the thesis examines the poet's elaborate, heroic persona and his compulsive return to the plasticity of the self. While the thesis necessarily engages with some abstract questions regarding authenticity and identity, it doe~ so mainly through the particularity of Gunn's work and the conversations within twentieth~centurypoetry itself on such topics, rather than through an importation of contemporary theory.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Economics and Related Studies (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.490271
Depositing User: EThOS Import (York)
Date Deposited: 04 Dec 2015 17:06
Last Modified: 04 Dec 2015 17:06
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11075

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