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Book Sections Year : 2012

Landscapes of the Mind: Recurrence and Variations in the Poetry of Elizabeth Madox Roberts

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Abstract

The purpose of this study is to explore the way Elizabeth Madox Roberts (1881-1941), a Kentucky poet and novelist stages her quest for harmony so as to speak her mind in the poems collected in Under the Tree (1922) and Song in the Meadow (1941). My goal is to examine the way Roberts formulates her loyalty to the powers of mind by using language as a means of expressing what has previously been felt, thought and heard. That calling for loyalty is palpable in Roberts’ devotion to writing and to poetic art, which comes with an acknowledgement of childhood memories and of Kentucky’s natural beauties. To show evidence for the survival of the past, Roberts transmits her own experiences, her memories, which she associates with specific places. Her poetry is thus pervaded with sensations, emotions and images that make up the foundations of her own self. It will therefore be interesting to examine the variations of Roberts’ writing style, for it is constantly battered by numerous uncontrollable flows, in order to try and show how she manages to translate her mind into a central territory of her poetic craft. The collection of memories shaping the fragile character of her peculiar and recluse life happens to be the consequence of an unfailing meditation on her time, which is tainted with hope, doubt or despair. With Roberts, the mind stands close to the past although harmed and manipulated owing to the poet’s ill health, migraines and precarious financial situation. Her enduring attempts to clarify obscure relationships and systems of ideas reveal an everlasting quest in the assertion of the prevalence of the mind. Estranged to standard rules in prosody and reluctant to popular clichés, Roberts transcends poetry into a supreme art suffused with sensitivity, lyricism and truth, where her time-related fibers entangle past memories, expectations and concern for the present time.
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hal-02180253 , version 1 (11-07-2019)

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  • HAL Id : hal-02180253 , version 1

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Gisèle Sigal. Landscapes of the Mind: Recurrence and Variations in the Poetry of Elizabeth Madox Roberts. Stoneback, H. R and Boyle, William and Nickel, Matthew C. Reading Roberts: Prospect & Retrospect, Elizabeth Madox Roberts Society, pp.60-78, 2012, 978-0-9822693-5-0. ⟨hal-02180253⟩

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