The field-sized republic : landscape, lyricism and versions of Scottish identity in Douglas Dunn's poetry, from ̀Terry Street' to ̀The Year's Afternoon'
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My thesis gives a Central-Eastern European reading of the development of Dunn's poetic representations of Scotland, with special emphasis on the uses of landscape and nature poetry, including versions of the pastoral. Pragmatically, my reading of Dunn's work moves in the dual paradigm of nationality and internationalism, as I aim to illustrate in what ways these parallel affinities may enrich our readings by supplementing or on occasion complicating each other. This binary context is also essential to my procedure, in that national identity forms a part of my subject matter and my point of view as a Hungarian reader involves an international perspective. My hypothesis is that Dunn's poetry, inasmuch as it speaks for the autonomy of imagination, is paradigmatic for the (re)formulation of an authentic but internationally minded Scottish literature. As understanding the motives behind its images abroad may inform a nation that wants to reshape its cultural position, I seek to offer feedback by reading Dunn's representations of Scotland from a Continental angle, as distinguished from habitual British or Scottish readings. I address myself to the problems of literary provincialism, regionalism and inner emigration as potential sources of lyrical self-emancipation. I also investigate Dunn's transgression of secular apprehensions of landscape and chronology, which enables both the identity construction of the place in the present tense and the constant deferral of this identity to an indefinite future. I assume that in the course of this deferral nationality evolves into the subject of an open-ended semantic negotiation. In general terms, I aim to challenge conventional beliefs about the relationship between the public and private responsibilities of poetry by considering the ways in which history, place and nationality converge in the voice of an essentially lyrical poet.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
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