Date of Degree

6-2014

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor(s)

Meena Alexander

Subject Categories

English Language and Literature | Esthetics | Women's Studies

Keywords

absence, feminist theory, phenomenology, poetry, silence, visual culture

Abstract

This dissertation examines the way silence, blank space, and other forms of creative withholding attempt to translate the unsayable, or to convey the unsayability of language in artistic form. Through a study of the works of Sylvia Plath, Jean Rhys, Rachel Zucker, Marguerite Duras, Anne Carson, and visual images, this work observes the connection between women's writing in the 20th century and the communication of painful subject matter through attention to absence. This study attends explicitly to how formal qualities in artistic works attend to ontological concerns through an examination of the intersection of concerns with phenomenology, feminism, and formal aesthetics.

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