Files in this item



application/pdf3392215.pdf (3MB)Restricted to U of Illinois
(no description provided)PDF


Title:Unsayable Somethings: Modern American Poetry, Language, and the Logic of Experience
Author(s):McWhorter, Ellen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Nelson, Cary
Department / Program:English
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Literature, American
Abstract:By exploring the categorical similarities between popular models of science, political economy, psychology, and sexuality, this dissertation addresses modern U.S. poetry's obsession with conjuring the unsayable. Chapters 1 and 2 explore the social and conceptual landscape that came to align the sayable with the cognitive and credible, while relegating alternative ways of knowing to the category of the unsayable. For various American poets, non-cognitive modes of knowing---in the form of intuitions and gut instincts---are given a palpable resonance in the articulation of experiences of race, gender, nation, class, and sexuality in the early 20th century. Chapter 3 illustrates how the speaker in Mina Loy's Love Songs to Joannes (1917) shows that the emergent scientific paradigms of the time shut down not only the possibility for acknowledging intuitions, but also the possibilities for person-to-person intimacy. Chapter 4 argues that in the poetries of Sterling Brown and Edwin Rolfe, articulations of laughter and music, and representations of workers' bodies, respectively, point to the important role that the sayable plays in maintaining structures of dominance in the U.S., specifically with respect to the slew of constitutional race and work laws created and reformulated during the period of modernity. Chapter 5 demonstrates the ways in which the paradoxical representations of lesbian desire in the poetries of Amy Lowell and Angelina Weld Grimke's negotiate the sayable and unsayable; as such, they are put into relief by differently complex experiences of embodiment and the power dynamics at play in relationships that at times cannot, and at other times must not, be articulated.
Issue Date:2009
Description:256 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2009.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3392215
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-25
Date Deposited:2009

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Item Statistics