Facing Loss and Death: Narrative and Eventfulness in Lyric Poetry

Facing Loss and Death: Narrative and Eventfulness in Lyric Poetry


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Lyric poetry as a temporal art-form makes pervasive use of narrative elements in organizing the progressive course of the poetic text. This observation justifies the application of the advanced methodology of narratology to the systematic analysis of lyric poems. After a concise presentation of this transgeneric approach to poetry, the study sets out to demonstrate its practical fruitfulness in detailed analyses of a large number of English (and some American) poems from the early modern period to the present. The narratological approach proves particularly suited to focus on the hitherto widely neglected dimension of sequentiality, the dynamic progression of the poetic utterance and its eventful turns, which largely constitute the raison d'être of the poem. To facilitate comparisons, the examples chosen share one special thematic complex, the traumatic experience of severe loss: the death of a beloved person, the imminence of one’s own death, the death of a revered fellow-poet and the loss of a fundamental stabilizing order. The function of the poems can be described as facing the traumatic experience in the poetic medium and employing various coping strategies. The poems thus possess a therapeutic impetus.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783110484229
Publisher: De Gruyter
Publication date: 08/22/2016
Series: Narratologia Series , #55
Pages: 338
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Peter Hühn, Universität Hamburg, Germany.

Table of Contents

1 Introduction Peter Hühn 1

2 Mourning the Death of a Beloved Person 15

2.0 Introduction Peter Hühn 17

2.1 Ben Jonson: "On My First Daughter" and "On my First Son" Peter Hühn 19

2.2 John Donne: "Since She Whom I Loved" and John Milton: "Methought I Saw My Late Espoused Saint" Peter Hühn 25

2.3 Lord Byron: "Away, Away, Ye Notes of Woe" and "And Thou Art Dead" Peter Hühn 30

2.4 E. A. Poe: "Lenore" Peter Hühn 37

2.5 Seamus Heaney: "Mid-Term Break" Heilna du Plooy 41

2.6 Eavan Boland: "The Blossom" and "The Pomegranate" Peter Hühn 45

2.7 Summary Peter Hühn 54

3 Coping with Loss in Love 61

3.0 Introduction Peter Hühn 63

3.1 William Shakespeare: The Sonnets Peter Hühn 65

3.2 John Donne: "Valediction: Forbidding Mourning" Stefan Schenk-Haupt 79

3.3 William Wordsworth: "Lucy Poems" Peter Hühn 84

3.4 Emily Dickinson: "After Great pain" Heilna du Plooy 94

3.5 Thomas Hardy: "The Voice" Britta Goerke 99

3.6 Sylvia Plath; "The Other" Stefan Schenk-Haupt 107

3.7 Ted Hughes: Birthday Letters Peter Hühn 114

3.8 Summary Peter Hühn 132

4 Confronting One's Own Death 139

4.0 Introduction Peter Hühn 141

4.1 Sir Walter Raleigh: "Verses Made the Night Before He Died" and Chidiock Tichborne: "Tichborne's Elegy" Peter Hühn 143

4.2 John Donne: "What if this Present were the World's Last Night" Peter Hühn 148

4.3 William Cowper: "The Castaway" Britta Goerke 152

4.4 John Keats: "When I have Fears that I May Cease to be" and Lord Byron: "On this Day I Complete my Thirty-Sixth Year" Peter Hühn 162

4.5 Emily Dickinson: "Because I Could Not Stop for Death" Heilna du Plooy 169

4.6 Rupert Brooke: "The Soldier" and Wilfred Owen: "Strange Meeting" Peter Hühn 174

4.7 D. H. Lawrence: "Bavarian Gentians" Peter Hühn 181

4.8 Summary Peter Hühn 185

5 Lamenting the Death of Poets 191

5.0 Introduction Peter Hühn 193

5.1 Henry Howard, Farl of Surrey: "An Excellent Epitaph of Sir Thomas Wyatt" Peter Hühn 195

5.2 Thomas Carew: "An Elegie upon the Death of the Dean of St. Paul's, Or John Donne" Peter Hühn 199

5.3 Percy Bysshe Shelley: "Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats" Peter Hühn 206

5.4 W. H. Auden: "In Memory of W. B. Yeats" Peter Hühn 212

5.5 Seamus Heaney: "Audenesque; in memory of Joseph Brodsky" Peter Hühn 217

5.6 Summary Peter Hühn 222

6 Thematizing the Loss of an Old Order 227

6.0 Introduction Peter Hühn 229

6.1 John Donne: An Anatomy of the World and William Shakespeare: The Sonnets Peter Hühn 232

6.2 William Wordsworth: "The World is too Much with Us" and W. B. Yeats: "High Talk" Peter Hühn 242

6.3 Shelley: "Lift not the Painted Veil" (Peter Hühn) and "The Cloud" Britta Goerke 250

6.4 Matthew Arnold: "Dover Beach" and Gerald Manley Hopkins: "No Worst, there is None" Peter Hühn 264

6.5 T. S. Eliot: The Waste Land (Peter Hühn) and "Journey of the Magi" Britta Goerke 275

6.6 W. B. Yeats: "Lapis Lazuli" Peter Hühn 295

6.7 Tony Harrison: "A Kumquat for John Keats" Britta Goerke 301

6.8 Summary Peter Hühn 311

7 Conclusion: Summary and Results Peter Hühn 319

Index (authors and titles) 331

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