Tennyson's Fixations

Tennyson's Fixations

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Matthew Rowlinson has given us the most penetrating analysis of Tennyson's poetry to date. He proposes a revitalized and properly analytic formalism as the appropriate model for a reading of Tennyson. In a series of original, scrupulously attentive, and sophisticated close readings, he probes the nature of place and the structuring of desire in Tennyson's work. Focusing on the poet's most important early writings - fragments and poems produced from 1824 to 1833 - Rowlinson conflates deconstructive theory with psychoanalytic insights. The author begins by observing that the subjectivities articulated in these poems, from the strangely passive poet-seer of the qArmageddonq fragments to the embowered singers of qMariana, q qThe Lady of Shalott, q and qThe Hesperidesq to the absconding monarch of qUlysses, q are all constituted in relation to ruined, abandoned, or inaccessible places. The placing of the subject allegorizes its relation to the signifier as well as to the discursive structures within which the signifier comes into being. On this premise, Rowlinson takes up Lacan's claim that it is through the signifier that all human desire is mediated. In the placement of the subjects he reads a distinctively Tennysonian articulation of desire. Following Paul de Man, Rowlinson demonstrates that allegory comes into being only within a structure of repetition. He has developed a formalist poetics that provides a psychoanalytic account of the most basic figural and formal devices - allegory, metaphor, rhyme, and meter - and he offers an explication and critique of major concepts in Lacanian and Freudian psychoanalytic theory, including the gaze, the castration complex, the death drive, and the compulsion to repeat. By returning to deconstruction, the author has resumed the challenges English studies took up in the seventies and left incomplete in its rush to historicism. His readings offer fresh insights at the level of theory.Matthew Rowlinson has given us the most penetrating analysis of Tennysona#39;s poetry to date.

Title:Tennyson's Fixations
Author: Matthew Charles Rowlinson
Publisher:University of Virginia Press - 1994-01-01

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