A Foreign Mirror: Intertexts with Surrealism in Twentieth-Century U. S. Poetries
|DuPlessis, Rachel Blau
|In the latter half of the twentieth-century, fewer U. S. poets translated foreign poetry than their modernist predecessors. The scope of their translation projects correspondingly narrowed. Gone, for example, were projects like Ezra Pound's reaching back to thirteenth-century Italy to see how U. S. poets could push forward. Instead, translations of European and Latin American modernism prevailed. Often, multiple translations of the same author were produced by different translators at the expense of presenting a more well-rounded vision of national literatures. Of these translations, a surprisingly large number were of poets who were either loosely or explicitly connected to surrealism as a literary movement. This dissertation locates this explosion of interest in surrealism as an attraction to the surrealist emphasis on reconciling binaries. This emphasis allows American poets a convenient frame through which to confront the difficult questions of place and nation that arise as the U. S. position in the field of world literature shifts from periphery to core. Previous researchers have traced the history of surrealism's early reception in the United States, but these studies tend to not only focus on the movement's influence on American art, but also stop shortly after surrealist expatriates returned to Europe following WWII. This dissertation extends these approaches both by bringing the conversation up to the present and by examining the key role that translation and other forms of rewriting play in mediating the relationship between surrealism and American audiences. As surrealism enters the U. S. literary system, the transformed product is often not what one might expect. U. S. rewritings of surrealist literature are primarily carried out by poets and critics whose fundamental interest in the movement lies in finding a foreign mirror for their own aesthetic or ideological preoccupations. This in turn provokes the development of a strand of surrealist-influenced writing whose aims and goals are vastly different from those of the movement's founders.
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|Theses and Dissertations
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|A Foreign Mirror: Intertexts with Surrealism in Twentieth-Century U. S. Poetries
|Braddock, Alan C., 1961-
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