Document Details

Document Type:   Thesis
Title:   "A Long Wonder the World Can Bear & Be": Narrative Strategies in The Dream Songs
Author:   Cooper Logan Childers
College:   Liberal Arts
Degree Program:   English, M.A.
Degree:   Master of Arts
Committee Director:   Dr. Mary B. Moore
Document Availability:   Document available for World-Wide access.
Date of Defense:   4/17/2009

This thesis examines the narrative development of The Dream Songs while viewing Henry as the locus and the impetus of the various narrative strategies deployed therein. Through the abundance of generic and literary allusions present in The Dream Songs, Berryman’s sequence functions both to engage and to interact with the Western literary canon. The first chapter of this thesis locates The Dream Songs within Petrarchan sequences. The second chapter treats Henry’s and the unnamed speaker’s local language and shows how their competing speech genres inform the sequence’s modes. The third chapter examines the role of epic codes in creating the text’s generic expectations and the generic modulations unique to the Songs. Though the narrative development of The Dream Songs functions to appropriate canonical texts of the Western literary tradition, the sequence refuses to adhere to generic expectations evoked by the texts appropriated and ultimately is revealed to be an inter-text. 

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