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Edith Sitwell’s Poetry And Music: Challenge Of An Individual Talent

BROWSE_DETAIL_CREATION_DATE: 19-10-2018

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BROWSE_DETAIL_TYPE: Thesis

BROWSE_DETAIL_SUB_TYPE: Masters

BROWSE_DETAIL_PUBLISH_STATE: Unpublished

BROWSE_DETAIL_FORMAT: PDF Document

BROWSE_DETAIL_LANG: English

BROWSE_DETAIL_SUBJECTS: LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE, English literature,

BROWSE_DETAIL_CREATORS: Ünal, Olga (Author),

BROWSE_DETAIL_CONTRIBUTERS: Elbir, Nüket Belgin (Advisor),

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Edith Sitwell, poetry, poetry and music, union of arts


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I have chosen Edith Sitwell’s poetry as a subject of this thesis, firstly, because of mylove for this literary genre and my admiration of Sitwell’s personality, secondly, due to myinterest in modernism and experimental literature, and lastly, due to my desire to deeply studyand understand avant-garde literature. The objective of my study was to explore the meaningand significance of music in Edith Sitwell’s poetry, to understand the origin and timelimitation of her experiment.For this purpose, I have examined most of Sitwell’s poems starting from 1910 until 1940s and analysed social, cultural and historical context of the period. I have also outlinedmajor innovations, both in modernist music and literature, and explained why Edith Sitwellchose them. The modernist concept of “union of arts” inspired Sitwell for using theatricaland visual elements to present poems to public. This part of her experiment had led tocreating an entertaining-event-poem, recited with the poet’s own voice and under a musicaccompaniment.Having read numerous books, dissertations, critical essays and articles, I haveconcluded that Sitwell unites poetry and music in her work not only at the level ofvocabulary, but also at the level of non-traditional meter, rhythm and choice of words withparticular sound patterns – combination of vowels and consonants. The structure of herpoems intended to resemble structure of a typical modernist piece of music.I have concluded that the poet’s attempt to unite music and poetry was a part of heravant-garde poetic experiment. The choice of this path is rooted in Edith Sitwell’s belongingto an aristocratic family, her education and personal qualities. Of course, it was also thecultural shock in the beginning of the twentieth century that inspired Sitwell to search fornew aesthetic forms in speaking about the morality and nature of the human kind.The significance of my research lies in appreciation of Edith Sitwell’s individualtalent and her impact on British and the world avant-garde experimental poetry. Moreover,my study has helped me understand modernist literature, as well as to realize the purpose andcultural significance of a literary experiment in general.


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