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The American Muldoon

Alonso, Alexander (2017) The American Muldoon. PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

This study of Paul Muldoon hinges on the Northern Irish poet's 1987 arrival in the United States. Principally, it asks what bearing the American move has had on the vertiginous changes in scale, allusiveness, and formal sophistication that have come to define the second half of his career. Focussing in the main on his longer forms in both the poems and lectures, I argue that Muldoon's emigration has shifted his oeuvre into a serially expansive, polymorphous phase, and that his later works are enmeshed with the new cultural and academic models he encounters in the States. In what I see as their commitment to global and persistently Transatlantic allusive traffic, Muldoon's long forms testify to the pleasures of mobility, even when returning as they often do to the poet's Irish heritage and memories of early life. This Transatlantic traffic will be the study's central focus. Chapter 1 considers Muldoon's first full collection of poetry produced in America, Madoc: A Mystery (1990). Its title poem pivots on a Transatlantic departure, and, as I aim to show, marks a definitive turn in his poetics towards Joyce, the formal avant-garde, and ludic models of self-conscious postmodern obscurity. Chapter 2 offers the first full-scale treatment of Paul Muldoon as critic. In a series of long-voyage lectures from his American years, To Ireland, I (2000) and The End of the Poem (2006), Muldoon announces himself on the critical scene not only as a 'stunt reader' but, I argue, an extraordinarily Freudian thinker, as this thesis considers in full. Chapter 3 examines his poetics of the slip from The Annals of Chile (1994) onward as a new serial genre in Muldoon's later U.S. career, and explores the merits of his mistakes in formal, erotic, intertextual and political terms. Finally, Chapter 4 addresses the importance of memory and the long poem for Muldoon in America, examining the architectural blueprint of ninety rhyme-words which ranges over five consecutive volumes from The Annals of Chile to Maggot (2010). As I hope to show, this blueprint involves an extensive palimpsestic performance of memory and mourning that is ceaselessly Transatlantic, weaving Muldoon's Irish past and American present into a suggestively autobiographical magnum opus.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Depositing User: Mr Alexander Alonso
Date Deposited: 04 May 2018 16:09
Last Modified: 04 May 2018 16:09
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/19994

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