Word, Birth, and Culture: The Poetry of Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson
Poe, Whitman, and Dickinson form an engaging triad of poets who, considered together, enrich the poetics of each other; the works of the three poets address language, birth, and scientific aspects of culture in ways that frame new perceptions of sex roles. Exacerbating 19th-century American expectations for sexually-constructed experience, they employ tactics that disrupt patriarchal signification. The first book to group these three poets together, this volume examines the daring language experiments in which they engage. It explores their use of pseduoscientific and scientific studies of alchemy, hydropathy, and botany to inform their understanding of language and birth and to discover expressions that challenge expectations for 19th-century poetry. The rising awareness of women's rights, which concurred with the antebellum call for a new American literature, also informed the emerging sense of the feminine that prompts the poets to use the maternal in their poetry. While they do not address the "woman question" of the 19th century in concrete ways, they nonetheless relied upon the female experience of birthing to create a new relationship with language and to question the nature of signification.
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Poes The Raven and Gestative Signification
Whitmans Song of Myself and Gestative Signification
Dickinsons Fascicle TwentyEight and Gestative Signification
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abortion alchemist alchemy American Annabel Lee Annie becomes bird birth botany bust century chapter child childbirth chora Cixous claims Cradle culture death describes desire discourse Ebb'd Edgar Allan Poe Emerson Emily Dickinson exists Fascicle Twenty-Eight father female body feminine poetics final float flowers gender gestation gestative guage hydropathy jouissance kind Kristeva Lacan Lacanian language experiment Leaves of Grass legume Lenore Mabbott male maternal matronymic meaning mother Name-of-the-Father nameless narrator narrator's nature never Nevermore nineteenth-century oedipal offers Pallas parturition patriarchal phallus poem of Fascicle poem's prayer pregnancy prelingual pulsions pure signifier purloined letter Raven reader reading realm regeneration remains repetition resonance rhythms semiotic sexual signifying chain Song speaker speaking stanza suggests summer Tamerlane three poets tion transgression transmutation Ulalume utterance voice Walt Whitman want-to-be water cure Whit Whitman and Dickinson woman womb women word writing