Peter Hühn: Generic Extensions in Contemporary British Poetry

Lecture by Prof. Dr. Peter Hühn (English Studies, University of Hamburg) on the topic of Generic Extensions in Contemporary British Poetry.

More information on the author can be found here: https://www.slm.uni-hamburg.de/iaa/personen/ehemalige-emeriti/huehn-peter.html

 

Contents of Peter Hühn’s lecture:

This contribution analyses two complex examples of the generic extension of lyric poetry in recent British literature. Tony Harrison’s film poem The Shadow of Hiroshima (1995) expands the lyric text into the visual dimension; Glyn Maxwell’s collection The Sugar Mile (2005) arranges a large number of individual lyric poems into a dramatic scenario. In both cases the generic transition is coupled with a further generic extension – the elaboration of a distinctly narrative sequentiality. In two important aspects the generic extension of these examples affects the rendering of a particular experience, namely the perception of and reaction to massive violence and destruction. One aspect concerns the organization of speech situation and perspective, especially the relation between a superordinate authorial voice and possible subordinate voices, the other aspect pertains to the status of the represented experience in the ambiguity between factuality and fictionality, characteristic of the stance of the lyric utterance in various periods throughout the history of poetry. In both respects the generic expansion in Harrison’s The Shadow of Hiroshima and in Maxwell‘s The Sugar Mile can be shown to utilize the representational potentials of lyric poetry in distinctly alternative directions.


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