'Pour garder l'impossible intact' : the poetry of Heather Dohollau
MetadataShow full item record
Altmetrics Handle Statistics
This dissertation offers the first extended study of the work of the Welsh-French poet Heather Dohollau, whose substantial œuvre in French, published since 1974, has recently received international critical recognition. My thesis centres on the idea of traversée, which originates in Dohollau’s experience of exiles, returns and bilingualism. My chapters elucidate five interconnected themes which all relate to that overarching paradigm. Chapter 1 focuses on Dohollau’s trajectories as reflected in poems on the memory of place, concentrating on South Wales and the island. The quest for place is also a quest for the past, which is handled as an after-image capable of upwelling into the present. Chapter 2 investigates the visual-verbal bilingualism towards which Dohollau’s texts on specific artworks (or ekphrastic texts) seem to strive. Dohollau revitalizes the ekphrastic tradition and challenges its conventional connotations of power struggle (W. J. T. Mitchell) in favour of a poetics of hospitality. Chapter 3 is dedicated to Dohollau’s ethos and practice of slowness. It undertakes a close-reading analysis of her syntactic and sound-related rhythms, connecting them with Derrida’s différance. The idea of poetry as a foreign language is discussed in chapter 4: Dohollau’s adoption of French as her main poetic language in the mid-1960s, her handling of motherhood and daughterhood, and her quest for a poetics of mourning and fidelity are examined in their interrelations. The concluding chapter explores the boundaries between language and the unsaid. Dohollau has been uniquely placed to engage with postwar reassessments of language and its limits (Derrida, Heidegger, Blanchot), poised as she is between languages and media. As her poems show, such limits constitute a poetic resource in their own right. Her carefully cultivated liminal stance has given her important insights into the creative process as a passage into words from an unwritten, yet not utterly inchoate other of the poem.
Thesis, PhD Doctor of Philosophy
Embargo Date: 2022-09-20
Embargo Reason: Thesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic version restricted until 20th September 2022
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
The so-called New York School : a feminist (re)vision in six poets Campbell, Rosa (University of St Andrews, 2021-06-29) - ThesisThe ubiquity with which ‘so-called’ precedes critical iterations of ‘the New York School’ highlights the fundamental instability not only of this label, but also the concept of the poetic school more generally, yet bypasses ...
Twentieth-century poetry and science : science in the poetry of Hugh MacDiarmid, Judith Wright, Edwin Morgan, and Miroslav Holub Gibson, Donald (University of St Andrews, 2015-12-14) - ThesisThe aim of this thesis is to arrive at a characterisation of twentieth century poetry and science by means of a detailed study of the work of four poets who engaged extensively with science and whose writing lives spanned ...
Manufacturing selves : the poetics of self-representation and identity in the poetry of three “factory-girls”, 1840-1882 Garrard, Suz (University of St Andrews, 2017-07-18) - ThesisThis thesis is a transatlantic examination of self-representational strategies in factory women’s poetry from circa 1848-1882, highlighting in particular how the medium of the working-class periodical enabled these socially ...