AbstractDuring two hundred years of urbanisation and industrialisationg British poetry has often seemed more concerned with the natural and rural world. The thesis uses this paradox to explore two particular aspects of Twentieth Century poetry of the natural azid rural world -'its attitude and orientation towards the actual changing conditions of its subject matter and the significance of this in literary value judgements. To consider these ideological questions in a way that maintains the specificity and creativity of experience and of literatureq Raymond Williams's concept of "structure of feeling" is introduced. In addition, two broad, historical approaches to this poetry are distinguished: the first involves the transformation of pastoral into rural realism in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, while the second, which dates from the Romantic revival, offers a poetry of personal experience and metaphysical enquiry. In early Twentieth Century poetryq these approaches frequently converge to form a common front against modernism, while simultaneously, particularly in Edward Thomas and DH Lawrence, fresh importance is attached to the idea of nature poetry for metaphysical enquiry. In considering the post-war revival Of nature and rural poetry, the original approaches are redefined in terms of a materialist- /metaphysical polarity. For Hugh MacDiarmid and Ted Hughes, the tension within this polarity is claimed to be especially productive, while in writers like Hopkins and RS Thomas, a basic commitment to metaphysical orthodoxy is seen to be damagingly incompatible with the principles of free imaginative enquiry and the ontological autonomy of nature. The two central questions of the thesis about Twentieth Century poetry of the natural and rural world, those conceining social change and metaphysical enquiry, are related in two ways: through attention to the cultural mediation of poetic language and form and through demonstrating that creative response to the full conditions of life is politically and metaphysically fundamental.
PublisherUniversity of Wolverhampton
TypeThesis or dissertation
DescriptionA thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements of the Council for National Academic Awards for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy
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