Fleshliness and Fluidity: Swinburne in an Age of Media Revolution
AdvisorMelillo , John Dr.
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
RightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction, presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
EmbargoRelease after 06/01/2023
AbstractMy dissertation closely examines the works of the critically overlooked poet A. C. Swinburne within the context of print culture and consumerism. I argue that his prosodic, syntactic, and intertextual repetitions unsettle the boundary between verbal expression and multisensory impression, reimagines oral lyric traditions through a print medium, and challenges the concepts of authenticity and authorship in a materialist society characterized by mass production and consumption. Chapter 1 examines Swinburne’s embodiment of the androgyne in his rewriting of ancient Greek lyric and dramatic traditions. Just as the androgyne represents a simultaneous union and mutilation of two bodies, Swinburne’s renovation of poetic forms shows the double edge of print culture—its capability of preserving and perverting lost traditions. Chapter 2 explores how rhyme and meter work together to stimulate the reader’s auditory imagination of multiple voices silenced by the print medium. While the number of stressed syllables varies from line to line, the rhyme scheme stays the same and thus visually orders the sound pattern on the page. Chapter 3 shows how Swinburne relates reading a print text to touching the body in his poems that represent bodily contact. These poems mediate tactile perceptions through insistent rhyme schemes, syntactic and prosodic parallelism, and intertextual translation of artistic effects seen in sculptures and paintings. Chapter 4 demonstrates how Swinburne’s parody and forgery mock his contemporaries’ blind acceptance of printed words as authentic and authorial. His fabrication of critical reviews and self-parody not only challenge nineteenth-century concepts of originality and authorship but also reveal the close connection between print culture and consumerism—both relied upon illusions arising from sign systems and mass production.
Degree ProgramGraduate College