Abstract (Summary)
This dissertation, a collection of original poetry by C. Lynn Shaffer, consists of three sections, predominantly persona poems in narrative free verse form. One section presents the points of view of different individuals; the other sections are sequences that develop two central characters: a veteran living in modern-day America and the historical figure Secondo Pia, a nineteenth-century Italian lawyer and photographer whose name is not as well known as the image he captured with his camera, the Shroud of Turin. Though many themes are present, the poems' main concerns include the photographic nature of memory as an alleged recorder of experience, the act of viewing, and the faith, or lack of it, that we place in those phenomena. In addition, the poems investigate how, after tragedy, memory can overwhelm an individual until a person's identity transforms his personality, as is the case with many veterans. In contrast, other poems explore the effect of the mind's refusal-due to sickness or grief-to allow memories to occur. Collectively, through the characters' struggles, the poems speculate about how memory functions within the subtext of loss. The dissertation also includes a critical essay about biblical and apocryphal revision in Toni Morrison's Jazz and Margaret Atwood's Alias Grace, revision similar to that Alicia Suskin Ostriker has observed in contemporary women's poetry. The essay explores the way in which both novels challenge the Christian narrative that transforms sex-biological fact-into gender-culturally assigned roles based on sex.
Bibliographical Information:


School:University of Cincinnati

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:poetry persona narrative


Date of Publication:01/01/2001

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