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Title: Three sibyls on a tripod : revisionary mythmaking in the poetry of H.D., Sylvia Plath, and Adrienne Rich
Authors: Görey, Özlem.
Award date: 2000
Presented at: University of Leicester
Abstract: This thesis aims to explore the strategies of revisionary mythmaking employed by H.D., Sylvia Plath, and Adrienne Rich. Although I also turn to their prose writings, the main focus remains on poetry. The analysis of their poetry draws its insights from French feminist theory, particularly the theories of Luce Irigaray. The relationship between myths and construction of identity is explored through detailed reading of the poetry of these three poets. It investigates traditional patriarchal myths, such as classical, religious, historical, myths created and perpetuated by psychoanalysis, myths of womanhood and motherhood, as well as their function in organizing our perceptions of what constitutes reality. The thesis contests these myths' claim to universality. The poets not only challenge patriarchal myths in their poetry, but they also seek to present alternatives to established traditions. They work towards the rejection of clearly defined patriarchal binary oppositions, and instead propose a different kind of difference which is non-oppositional and non-hierarchical. Through detailed reading of their poetry, which is informed by theory, I suggest that the idea of a changeless and static self is rejected by the poets. In their work they deal with the lack of articulation of female subjectivity within patriarchal constructs, and identify the broken mother-daughter bond as a very important aspect of this impossibility. They repeatedly return to the semiotic where this vital bond is still intact, and patriarchal binary oppositions has not been established yet. Hence, multiplicity and ambiguity are always foregrounded as a key theme. The three poets ultimately posit that patriarchal myths are neither 'natural' nor 'compulsory'. They challenge patriarchal myths and language through their revisionary mythmaking and their articulation of female experiences that have been unheard, denied validity, and devalued. These strategies contribute to the ongoing process of subverting established myths, and ultimately, construction of alternative modes of imagination.
Type: Thesis
Level: Doctoral
Qualification: Ph.D.
Rights: Copyright © the author. All rights reserved.
Appears in Collections:Theses, Dept. of English
Leicester Theses

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