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A Julia Kristevan analysis of Emily Dickinson and John Milton

Sarıkaya, Merve
This thesis aims to analyze poems by Emily Dickinson and John Milton according to Julia Kristeva’s theories of poetic language and abjection, and to see the extent to which these concepts are applicable to two such different poets and also to see how the poets compare within such analytic framework. Kristeva adapts a psychoanalytic approach to poststructuralist theory. Psychoanalytic criticism with its two leading figures, Sigmund Freud and Jacques Lacan, has been analyzed to see its reflections on Kristeva’s theory. As regards, the semiotic, the symbolic, the abject and the paragrammatic structure of poetic language are four main concepts which have been found to be critical tools to be used in the analyses of Dickinson and Milton’s poems. What has been concluded from the analyses in this thesis is that in both Dickinson and Milton’s poems, according to Kristeva’s theory of poetic language, there is the intrusion of the semiotic into the symbolic which is further supported with the concept of the abject. Also, the difference between a seventeenth century and a modern poet in terms of a Kristevan approach has been deduced in this thesis. That is, Kristeva’s theory of paragrammatic structure has proved that in v Dickinson’s poems, each and every word helps to sustain an image. Contrary to this, in Milton’s Comus, which is a work of the seventeenth century, it has been somewhat difficult to apply Kristeva’s theory of paragrammatic structure.