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The Semantics of Structure: Iconicity in the Poetry of William Carlos Williams and E. E. Cummings


Heusser, Martin (2013). The Semantics of Structure: Iconicity in the Poetry of William Carlos Williams and E. E. Cummings. In: Elleström, Lars; Fischer, Olga; Ljungberg, Christina. Iconic Investigations. Amsterdam, Philadelphia: John Benjamins Publishing Company, 159-172.

Abstract

One of the salient characteristics of Modernism, particularly of its early phases, is a new and different attitude towards the visual aspects of literary texts. Poets like E. E. Cummings and William Carlos Williams begin to exploit the visuality of their texts as an additional, important means of expression – often by means of iconicity. Both use mainly diagrammatic iconicity with isomorphic function but in different ways. Many of the texts concerned, particularly in the case of Cummings, are visually ostentatious, striking or simply strange but recalcitrant to interpretation. The poetics both of Cummings and of Williams have strong affinities with Romantic ideas about the function of literature, and both poets share a particular interest in short-circuiting the vicissitudes of linguistic meaning-making.

Abstract

One of the salient characteristics of Modernism, particularly of its early phases, is a new and different attitude towards the visual aspects of literary texts. Poets like E. E. Cummings and William Carlos Williams begin to exploit the visuality of their texts as an additional, important means of expression – often by means of iconicity. Both use mainly diagrammatic iconicity with isomorphic function but in different ways. Many of the texts concerned, particularly in the case of Cummings, are visually ostentatious, striking or simply strange but recalcitrant to interpretation. The poetics both of Cummings and of Williams have strong affinities with Romantic ideas about the function of literature, and both poets share a particular interest in short-circuiting the vicissitudes of linguistic meaning-making.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Book Section, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:2013
Deposited On:26 Aug 2013 11:58
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 16:44
Publisher:John Benjamins Publishing Company
ISBN:978 90 272 4348 5
Related URLs:http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&CON_LNG=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=009754795
http://opac.nebis.ch/F/?local_base=NEBIS&CON_LNG=GER&func=find-b&find_code=SYS&request=009778152

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