'...not a poet but a poem': A Lacanian study of the subject of the poem
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CitationConnelly, Marina. 2020. '...not a poet but a poem': A Lacanian study of the subject of the poem. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard University, Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.
AbstractThe work of the dissertation stems from a statement of Jacques Lacan’s, ‘I am not a poet but a poem’. The dissertation constitutes a dialogue between some elements of Lacanian psychoanalytic theory and some exemplary works of modern poetry. I have intended to bring about a synthesis of the Lacanian theory of subject with the principles of poiesis and interrogate its implications.
Reading the work of T. S. Eliot, the texts of the Book of Common Prayer, poems of Elizabeth Bishop, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Robert Lowell and John Clare, the dissertation charts the progress of Jacques Lacan’s thinking on the nature of the human subject, from the linguistic to the topologically-construed subject. I apply the poetic works to this theory, examining what is left of a subjective ‘trace’ in the poem, or what is possible for analytic theory with the use of a poetic heuristic. This examination must take into account a question of the body of the subject, or poem, and the effect of a metaphor.
The poetic texts read have been chosen specifically for their formal quality. Lacanian interest in literature has in large part been confined to engagement with experimental texts, such as the work of James Joyce or the Tel Quel movement. I show that what is embodied in the formal, accessible, lyric poem allows for as much of the subject as the avant-garde text.
Citable link to this pagehttps://nrs.harvard.edu/URN-3:HUL.INSTREPOS:37365781
- FAS Theses and Dissertations