Rural Modernity in Twentieth-Century Poetry

Date of Award

Summer 8-15-2013

Author's School

Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Author's Department

English and American Literature

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Degree Type



Rural Modernity in Twentieth Century Poetry considers the work of English and Irish poets alongside the environmental, cultural, and economic changes that radically altered rural place during this period. Both historical context and close readings reveal the contours of the modern rural condition, a state defined by its doubled, and often contradictory, experience of spatial and temporal categories and its conflicting engagement with vernacular and literary modes of expression.

As these locales are affected by trends in agricultural modernization and widespread depopulation, and by the emergence of a transatlantic rural diaspora, these poets articulate the dimensions of a landscape, and a cultural identity, that understands the rural as estranged from itself. From Thomas Hardy to Paul Muldoon, this work charts the rural terrain not as pastoral, or anti-pastoral, but as a built environment revealed through the creative act. Poets such as Seamus Heaney and John Montague expand upon this work's refusal to rely upon nostalgic mourning, or an alternative sense of recuperation or reclamation, instead conceiving of poetry's mission as a negotiation, often ambivalent, between these bifurcated states of time, space, language, and landscape that mark the experience of rural modernity.


English (en)

Chair and Committee

Guinn Batten

Committee Members

Wayne Fields, Dillon Brown, Dillon Johnston, Vincent Sherry, Eamonn Wall, Dirk Killen


Permanent URL: https://doi.org/10.7936/K7TX3CB5

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