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Language as Landscape in J. H. Prynne and Paul Celan

  • Nicola Thomas
Chapter
Part of the Geocriticism and Spatial Literary Studies book series (GSLS)

Abstract

Thomas compares the representation of text as space (and space as text) in the work of Paul Celan and J. H. Prynne. Prynne and Celan share a distinctive spatial vocabulary of hostile landscapes, subterranean spaces and contingent dwellings. In both cases, this is underpinned by some form of scepticism regarding language’s capacity to produce meaning. Drawing on Derrida’s concept of ‘trace’, and the notion of literary space more broadly, this analysis explores the role of archaeology and geology in Prynne and Celan’s work of the 1960s and early 1970s. It reads Celan’s theory of the meridian in the context of this critical discourse of meta-linguistic or meta-textual spaces, suggesting various ways in which both writers conceive of the poem itself as a literary space of intersubjective encounter in difficult terrain.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nicola Thomas
    • 1
  1. 1.St Hilda’s CollegeUniversity of OxfordOxfordUK

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