Imagination, metaphor and mythopoeia the poetry of three major English romantic poets

Karadaş, Fırat
This thesis studies metaphor, myth and their imaginative aspects in the poetry of William Wordsworth, Percy Bysshe Shelley and John Keats. The thesis argues that a comprehensive understanding of metaphor and myth cannot be done in the works of these poets without seeing them as faces of the same coin, and taking into consideration the role of the creating subject and its imagination in their production. Relying on Kantian, Romantic, and modern Neo-Kantian ideas of imagination, metaphor and myth, the study tries to indicate that imagination is an inherently metaphorizing and mythologizing faculty because the act of perception is an act of giving form to natural phenomena and seeing similitude in dissimilitude, which are basically metaphorical and mythological acts. In its form-giving activity the imagination of the speaking subjects of the poems studied in this thesis sees objects of nature as spiritual, animate or divine beings and thus transforms them into the alien territory of myth. This thesis analyzes myth and metaphor mainly in two regards: first, myth and metaphor are handled as inborn aspects of imagination and perception, and the interaction between nature and imagination are presented as the origin of all mythology; second, to show how myth is something that is re-created time and again by poetic imagination, Romantic mythography and re-creation of precursor mythologies are analyzed. In both regards, poetic imagination appears as a formative power that constructs, defamiliarizes and re-creates via mythologization and metaphorization.


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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...
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Citation Formats
F. Karadaş, “Imagination, metaphor and mythopoeia the poetry of three major English romantic poets,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2007.