Epic proportions : post-epic verse-novels and postcolonial critique

Burkitt, KH 2007, Epic proportions : post-epic verse-novels and postcolonial critique , PhD thesis, Salford : University of Salford.

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My thesis is based on the premise that verse-novels occupy a marginalised and contested position in contemporary literature: as they tread the generic boundaries of poetry and prose writing, they are always marked by their incongruous nature. This makes for uncomfortable reading as expectations are disrupted and undermined, and, for the poet, the adoption of the verse-novel form becomes both a risky and consciously political move. Each of the verse-novels that I consider is self-conscious of its anomalous generic affiliations and utilises them in order to replicate the postcolonial politics of the text. These texts all engage with the verse-novel form in different ways and draw attention to its problematic and marginal nature. This is used to highlight their postcolonial nature, as they are all concerned with matters of racial and national identity in a world where these categories are complicated. The commonality in these works is their relationships with epic form, in this thesis I identify this as a post-epic mode of writing. My study is based on the relationship between poetic form and postcolonial critique; it focuses upon three texts: the Australian poet Les Murray's Fredy Neptune, the Canadian poet Anne Carson's Autobiography of Red, and British writer Bernardine Evaristo's The Emperor's Babe. These texts and their authors call for a reconsideration of postcolonialism; this is both demonstrative of a conceptual shift towards global notions of identity, whilst also being problematic in terms of the political commitment of the texts. Each of these works demonstrates an awareness of the contradictory nature of their positions as they shy away from Utopian visions. In line with this, my aim is to demonstrate the way in which the self-reflexive employment of experimental poetry compliments an engagement with the transformative aspect of contemporary postcolonial politics.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Contributors: Rowland, AC (Supervisor)
Schools: Schools > School of Humanities, Languages & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Institutional Repository
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2012 13:34
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2022 11:27
URI: https://usir.salford.ac.uk/id/eprint/26600

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