Violence and Identity in the Poetry of Danielle Collobert, Maggie O'Sullivan and Raúl Zurita

Frances Kruk

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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This thesis examines how violence and oppression impact the formation of the speaking subject’s identity in the poetry of Danielle Collobert, Maggie O’Sullivan and Raúl Zurita. The first chapter addresses Danielle Collobert’s use of impersonalization in It Then. This eradication of identity leaves a would-be speaker outside language and therefore incapable of communicating except by intense physical violence. The second chapter examines the violently fragmented unofficial histories in Maggie O’Sullivan’s A Natural History in 3 Incomplete Parts, and considers how that fragmentation is demonstrated in a conspicuously sparse speaking ‘i’. The final chapter discusses a very prominent speaking ‘I’ in Raúl Zurita’s Purgatory. Zurita’s ‘I’ is split and is used by several different speakers as a means of expressing the results of traumatic experience on an individual as well as on a collective ‘I’. This thesis is accompanied by a portfolio of my own poetry in which I have sought to develop a speaking ‘I’ that is both a breaking point and a unifying centre, a cracked lyric ‘I’ that is constantly present as both insurgent and oppressor. The manuscript is partly reflective of the historical contexts and methodologies of these poets’ works but also engages my own concerns with current politics and violence. Each chapter contains a discussion of the evolution of my manuscript in relation to the work of the respective poet.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Royal Holloway, University of London
  • Olsen, Redell, Supervisor
  • Hampson, Robert, Advisor
Award date1 Dec 2012
Publication statusUnpublished - 2012

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