Hannah Burke-Tomlinson (KCL) - 2016-17 Students

The Body Poetic: Masculinity and Metapoetics in Latin Love Elegy and English Romantic Lyric

This research project will explore the ways in which presentations of the male poet’s body, in both Latin Love Elegy (mainly Propertius and Tibullus) and English Romantic Lyric (notably Coleridge, Wordsworth, Keats, Blake), operates as a locus for metapoetic reflections and self-positioning within these poetic genres. I will also consider the relationship between the male poet’s bodies as they are inscribed within their texts and hegemonic notions of normative masculinity and sexuality. Through such considerations, a complex image emerges which suggests that tensions concerning masculine gender performance can be seen to relate, metapoetically, to hegemonic literary discourses and poetic self-definition. By undertaking a comparative study of two historically distinct poetic cultures, I hope to offer a re-evaluation of current perceptions of their transcultural relationship. This research will also suggest new philological-literary perspectives on poetic texts, insights into their cultural contexts, and contribute to the expanding fields of masculinity and body studies.

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