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The Poetics of Human Rights: Auden and al-jawahiri in the 1930s

Khaleel, Ahmed (2015) The Poetics of Human Rights: Auden and al-jawahiri in the 1930s. PhD thesis, University of York.

Text (poetry and human rights, modern comparative literature, poetry and politics, human rights and cultural diversity)
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Abstract This is a comparative study of human rights in modern English and Arabic poetry. It is an attempt to find out answers for the ongoing controversies on human rights across cultures, as well as between the humanitarian and the legal perspectives of human rights. It is also a step towards inspecting further dimensions in the relationship between human rights and literature, considering poetry as a main literary genre. Through narrative, argumentative and analytic methods this research project tackles a selection of the poetic careers of W. H. Auden and Mohammed Mahdi al-Jawahiri in the 1930s. Three poems are selected from each of the two poets, according to subject matter and its relation to human rights, chronological development, surrounding events and the poet’s character, his reactions and concerns. From Auden I have selected “Musée des Beaux Arts,” “Epitaph on a Tyrant” and “Refugee Blues;” while from al-Jawahiri, “Taḥarrak al-Laḥd” (The Coffin Moved), “Fī al-Sijn” (In Jail) and “al-Iqṭāʿ” (Land policy). Being divided into three pairs, the six poems (‘Musée des Beaux’ Arts with ‘Fī al-Sijn’, ‘Epitaph on a Tyrant’ with ‘Taḥarrak al-Laḥd’ and ‘Refugee Blues’ with ‘al-Iqṭāʿ’) will be identified and analysed in terms of human rights. The comparison targets similar human rights topics raised in each pair and highlights differences and similarities in understanding, approaching and defending them. The research focuses on the 1930s as a decade in which many significant events and issues are enfolded, especially in terms of human rights and the relationship between Britain and Iraq where the two poets come from. While the 1930s preceded the establishment of an international legal umbrella of rights, the decade’s events led to major violations of rights that occurred in World War II. As a transitional period for human rights, this research underlines the role of poetry as a means for defending rights in the lack of legal protection in the 1930s. Human rights in the poems of Auden and al-Jawahiri are approached from a number of respects: what are the topics of human rights raised in the poems, why are these topics prioritized, how did the poets react to violations and crimes and how are human rights seen by each poet and why. These questions and concerns are argued in the four chapters of this research project.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > English and Related Literature (York)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.644985
Depositing User: Mr Ahmed Khaleel
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2015 15:23
Last Modified: 08 Sep 2016 13:32
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/8786

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