J.H. Prynne in context, 1955–1975

Goddard, Louis (2017) J.H. Prynne in context, 1955–1975. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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This thesis presents a partial survey of the intellectual and cultural environment in which the contemporary
British poet J.H. Prynne began his literary career. Its primary contribution to knowledge
consists of a reorientation of critical perspective towards Prynne’s early career and its specifically
British contexts, as well as a detailed literary-historical account of his relation to those contexts. This
account proceeds by analysis of Prynne’s prose works rather than his poetry, leading to a secondary
contribution in the form of a number of new readings of those works and a consideration of Prynne’s
attitude towards prose as a form. Extensive use is made of archival material, much of which has not
been examined in previous scholarship.

The Introduction sets out the methodology of the thesis and argues that existing work on Prynne
suffers from interlinked biases against consideration of Prynne’s early career and his British influences.
Chapter 1 offers an account of a particular network of such influences centred on the University of
Cambridge, looking at one regularly cited influence, Donald Davie, and arguing for recognition of a new
one in F.R. Leavis. In Chapter 2, Prynne’s involvement with the ‘little magazine’ scene is considered in
detail and an extended reading of his 1967 piece ‘A Note on Metal’ is used to reflect on the relationship
between prose and its publication contexts. Chapter 3, meanwhile, proposes a third key context for
Prynne’s early career in the prose fiction of Wyndham Lewis, Edward Upward and Douglas Oliver,
before offering a model for Prynne’s poetic thinking in this period based on the panspermia hypothesis.
The Conclusion attempts to name this model more specifically, while reflecting on the validity of the
thesis’s semi-biographical approach.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR6050 1961-2000 > PR6066.R9 Prynne, J.H.
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2017 10:52
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:49
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/68758

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