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John Cowper Powys: Displacements of Voice and Genre

Lindstedt, Eivor LU (2004)
Abstract (Swedish)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Avhandlingen bygger på närläsningar av två av John Cowper Powys främsta romaner, <i>A Glastonbury Romance</i> (1932) och <i>Porius</i> (1951). Ett av dess mål är att påvisa hur en dialogisk läsning av Powys - dvs. en förståelse av samspelet och växlingarna mellan olika röster, tonfall, stilarter och genrer, faktorer som tillsammans bygger upp romanens språk - kan bidraga till ett mera allmänt erkännande av John Cowper Powys mästerliga behandling av språket och hans lyhördhet för dess nyansrikedom. Powys flödande berättarstil kan liknas vid ett ymnighetshorn. Hans verk innehåller stildrag från olika genrer. Dessa faktorer kan med fördel belysas med hjälp av Mikhail M.... (More)
Popular Abstract in Swedish

Avhandlingen bygger på närläsningar av två av John Cowper Powys främsta romaner, <i>A Glastonbury Romance</i> (1932) och <i>Porius</i> (1951). Ett av dess mål är att påvisa hur en dialogisk läsning av Powys - dvs. en förståelse av samspelet och växlingarna mellan olika röster, tonfall, stilarter och genrer, faktorer som tillsammans bygger upp romanens språk - kan bidraga till ett mera allmänt erkännande av John Cowper Powys mästerliga behandling av språket och hans lyhördhet för dess nyansrikedom. Powys flödande berättarstil kan liknas vid ett ymnighetshorn. Hans verk innehåller stildrag från olika genrer. Dessa faktorer kan med fördel belysas med hjälp av Mikhail M. Bakhtins teorier om den mångstämmiga romanen i kombination med Roman Jakobsons slutsatser angående den realistiska prosatextens metonymiska karaktär.



Mikhail M. Bakhtin poängterade romankonstens dynamiska natur. Han betonade särskilt dess förmåga att införliva ord och uttryck från andra, "främmande" genrer, litterära såväl som icke-litterära; härav romanens mångstämmighet. Ytterst är det författaren som orkestrerar de ingående rösterna och variationerna till en sammanhängande textenhet.



Tillsammans med en genomgång av John Cowper Powys litteraturkritiska essäer om bl.a. Dostojevskij, Rabelais, Laurence Sterne och Dorothy Richardson, behandlar introduktionen och Kapitel 1 den teoretiska bakgrunden för textanalyserna i de följande två kapitlen.



I Kapitel 2 och Kapitel 3 undersökes olika stilistiska grepp och genre-karakteristiska drag, krönikörernas roll och växelspelet mellan deras röster och de andra romanfigurernas röster. Kapitel 2 behandlar bl.a. polyfonin i <i>A Glastonbury Romance</i> och relationen mellan det symboliska och metaforiska gral-begreppet och raden av metonymiska uttryck som användes för att beteckna det svårgripbara "Mystery of Glastonbury"-begreppet.



Huvuddelen av denna avhandling, Kapitel 3, utgöres av en diskussion av <i>Porius</i>, John Cowper Powys mest vittomfattande och invecklade roman. Dess slingrande struktur undersökes tillsammans med iakttagelser angående sambandet mellan tidsflöde och fortlöpande förändringar. Förhållandet mellan skiftningarna i berättelsens språk och tonfall och dess genre-rikedom analyseras ingående. Den proteusartade Myrddin Wyllt innehar en nyckelroll. Med sina olika skepnader förkroppsligar han växlingarna mellan de i berättelsen ingående genrerna och därmed växlingarna i berättarröst. (Less)
Abstract
This study is based on dialogic readings of two of John Cowper Powys´s major novels, <i>A Glastonbury Romance</i> and <i>Porius</i>. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the interrelationship in the examined texts between the chain of narrative displacements and the frequent changes of voice and genre. Powys´s cornucopian writing with its wide employment of characteristics from various genres makes it particularly well suited to a Bakhtinian analysis, combined with Roman Jakobson´s conclusions on the metonymic quality of the contiguity-dependent realistic prose text. A dialogic understanding of novelistic discourse will prevent any future accusations of formlessness or incoherence - arguments that have been... (More)
This study is based on dialogic readings of two of John Cowper Powys´s major novels, <i>A Glastonbury Romance</i> and <i>Porius</i>. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the interrelationship in the examined texts between the chain of narrative displacements and the frequent changes of voice and genre. Powys´s cornucopian writing with its wide employment of characteristics from various genres makes it particularly well suited to a Bakhtinian analysis, combined with Roman Jakobson´s conclusions on the metonymic quality of the contiguity-dependent realistic prose text. A dialogic understanding of novelistic discourse will prevent any future accusations of formlessness or incoherence - arguments that have been raised against Powys´s artistic achievement in previous discussions.



Mikhail M. Bakhtin has shown that novelistic discourse works according to its own intrinsic laws. With its readiness to incorporate passages from every conceivable genre - fictional as well as non-fictional - the novel resists unequivocal possession of meaning and ownership in the conventional sense. However, the author´s accents are present from the first to the last page; it is he who orders the narrative material into a coherent whole.



Together with a consideration of Powys´s writings on, among others, Dostoevsky, Rabelais, and Sterne, Chapter One discusses the theoretical framework of the textual analyses in the following chapters.



Different stylistic and generic traits are investigated both in Chapter Two and Chapter Three, as well as the function of the chronicling voices and their interaction with the voices of other characters. Among other things, Chapter Two considers the polyphony in <i>A Glastonbury Romance</i> and the connection between the symbolic-metaphoric Grail notion and the chain of metonymic expressions employed to denote the evasive "Mystery of Glastonbury".



The main portion of this study, Chapter Three, is devoted to a discussion of <i>Porius</i>, Powys´s most comprehensive and complex novel. Its meandering narrative structure is examined together with reflections on the important roles played by various manifestations of time, such as flux and shape-shifting. Special emphasis is given to a discussion of the relationship between shifts of accents and generic variation. The final part of Chapter Three considers the protean Myrddin Wyllt. As the embodiment of textual displacement, this character occupies a central position in the narrative as a whole. (Less)
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author
opponent
  • Professor Fawkner, Harald, Stockholms universitet
organization
publishing date
type
Thesis
publication status
published
subject
keywords
John Cowper Powys, Porius, cornucopian writing, narrative structure, narratology, Mikhail M. Bakhtin, novelistic discourse, dialogicity, polyphony, parody, chronotope, genre, metonymy in literature, Roman Jakobson, Engelska (språk och litteratur), English language and literature, myth in literature, A Glastonbury Romance
pages
263 pages
publisher
English Studies
defense location
Sal 207, Zoofysiologihuset, Helgonavägen 3B, Lund
defense date
2004-10-23 11:15
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
e68a32f2-1f1b-418f-926c-80edd0468439 (old id 21497)
date added to LUP
2007-05-28 10:52:59
date last changed
2016-09-19 08:45:14
@phdthesis{e68a32f2-1f1b-418f-926c-80edd0468439,
  abstract     = {This study is based on dialogic readings of two of John Cowper Powys´s major novels, &lt;i&gt;A Glastonbury Romance&lt;/i&gt; and &lt;i&gt;Porius&lt;/i&gt;. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the interrelationship in the examined texts between the chain of narrative displacements and the frequent changes of voice and genre. Powys´s cornucopian writing with its wide employment of characteristics from various genres makes it particularly well suited to a Bakhtinian analysis, combined with Roman Jakobson´s conclusions on the metonymic quality of the contiguity-dependent realistic prose text. A dialogic understanding of novelistic discourse will prevent any future accusations of formlessness or incoherence - arguments that have been raised against Powys´s artistic achievement in previous discussions.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Mikhail M. Bakhtin has shown that novelistic discourse works according to its own intrinsic laws. With its readiness to incorporate passages from every conceivable genre - fictional as well as non-fictional - the novel resists unequivocal possession of meaning and ownership in the conventional sense. However, the author´s accents are present from the first to the last page; it is he who orders the narrative material into a coherent whole.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Together with a consideration of Powys´s writings on, among others, Dostoevsky, Rabelais, and Sterne, Chapter One discusses the theoretical framework of the textual analyses in the following chapters.<br/><br>
<br/><br>
Different stylistic and generic traits are investigated both in Chapter Two and Chapter Three, as well as the function of the chronicling voices and their interaction with the voices of other characters. Among other things, Chapter Two considers the polyphony in &lt;i&gt;A Glastonbury Romance&lt;/i&gt; and the connection between the symbolic-metaphoric Grail notion and the chain of metonymic expressions employed to denote the evasive "Mystery of Glastonbury".<br/><br>
<br/><br>
The main portion of this study, Chapter Three, is devoted to a discussion of &lt;i&gt;Porius&lt;/i&gt;, Powys´s most comprehensive and complex novel. Its meandering narrative structure is examined together with reflections on the important roles played by various manifestations of time, such as flux and shape-shifting. Special emphasis is given to a discussion of the relationship between shifts of accents and generic variation. The final part of Chapter Three considers the protean Myrddin Wyllt. As the embodiment of textual displacement, this character occupies a central position in the narrative as a whole.},
  author       = {Lindstedt, Eivor},
  keyword      = {John Cowper Powys,Porius,cornucopian writing,narrative structure,narratology,Mikhail M. Bakhtin,novelistic discourse,dialogicity,polyphony,parody,chronotope,genre,metonymy in literature,Roman Jakobson,Engelska (språk och litteratur),English language and literature,myth in literature,A Glastonbury Romance},
  language     = {eng},
  pages        = {263},
  publisher    = {English Studies},
  school       = {Lund University},
  title        = {John Cowper Powys: Displacements of Voice and Genre},
  year         = {2004},
}