Date of Award

5-2012

Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

English

Committee Chair

Ellen Weinauer

Committee Chair Department

English

Committee Member 2

Jonathan Barron

Committee Member 2 Department

English

Committee Member 3

Martina Sciolino

Committee Member 3 Department

English

Abstract

Scholarship has long under-appreciated Herman Melville's 1866 collection of Civil War poetry, Battle-Pieces and Aspects of the War, partly due to the poems' inconsistent and distanced perspectives. Melville's experimental use of poetic voice and his unconventional depiction of fictional voices within the poems contribute to the collection's distanced perspectives, as well as to the volume's sometimes difficult and even awkward poetics. However, these experimental voices are also crucial to understanding Melville's attempt to describe changes in the relationship between American individuals and the nation occurring during and immediately following the tumultuous war. Melville's experiments in poetic voice also denote his rumination upon the changing role of the poet in the emerging modernity of mid-nineteenth century America.

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