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Elizabeth Bishop : The Restraints of Language - C. K. Doreski

Elizabeth Bishop

The Restraints of Language

Hardcover Published: 27th May 1993
ISBN: 9780195079661
Number Of Pages: 190

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In poetry, the constraints of language and the tension between desire and possibility constitute the problematic in which the poem occurs. Approaching Elizabeth Bishop's work from the standpoint of this problematic, C.K. Doreski's illuminating study examines Bishop's rhetorical strategies and the way they shape the formal and thematic movements of her poetry and stories.
Unlike other recent studies of Bishop, Doreski's does not concern itself primarily with her visual imagery, but rather deals with her poetry as a series of linguistic maneuverings designed to create the maximum illusion of representation while resisting the romantic devices of self-revelation and solipsistic narration. Though highly personal in nature, Bishop's works exhibit her success in averting, with formal and rhetorical dexterity, the temptations of sentiment.
Doreski argues that Bishop takes advantage of the inadequacies of language, and with a postmodern sense of limitation explores the gaps and silences narrative must bridge with the mundane - the patently inadequate - creating an air of emotional intimacy without committing itself to the banality of full exposure. In essence, she asserts, the restraints of language shaped the tone, tensions, and even the topics of Bishop's poetry.
This study finds the poems and stories mutually illuminating, but while moving back and forth among her various works, acknowledges the intelligent ordering of the volumes Bishop published in her lifetime. Persuasively arguing that restraint for Bishop is an essential element in the relationship she finds between language and life, this study shows how through her poems and stories she attempts to invent a language adequate to her perception.

"In illuminating the poetry, which she accomplishes with critical mastery, she has also cracked the imagistic and linguistic codes that often resist interpretation when we come to the work and lives of very fine poets....Her book offers a comprehensive and celebratory initiation."--Harvard Review "Doreski's book provides a compelling and in depth analysis of Bishop's poetic accomplishments, and her attention to Bishop's poetic aesthetic is particularly provocative. Scholars, teachers, and students will all find the book to be an essential resource for Bishop studies."--Lea Baechler, Columbia University "In illuminating the poetry, which she accomplishes with critical mastery, she has also cracked the imagistic and linguistic codes that often resist interpretation when we come to the work and lives of very fine poets....Her book offers a comprehensive and celebratory initiation."--Harvard Review "Doreski's book provides a compelling and in depth analysis of Bishop's poetic accomplishments, and her attention to Bishop's poetic aesthetic is particularly provocative. Scholars, teachers, and students will all find the book to be an essential resource for Bishop studies."--Lea Baechler, Columbia University

A Note on Referencesp. xix
Introduction: The Restraints of Languagep. 3
Deconstructing Imagesp. 16
Romantic Rhetoricsp. 34
The Absent Motherp. 65
The Childish Duskp. 85
Native Knowledgep. 102
Crusoe at Homep. 126
Conclusion: "The End of March"p. 147
Notesp. 155
Works Citedp. 173
Indexp. 177
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780195079661
ISBN-10: 0195079663
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 190
Published: 27th May 1993
Publisher: Oxford University Press Inc
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 21.8 x 14.6  x 1.9
Weight (kg): 0.39