Date of Award

Summer 1971

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Schwartz, Joseph

Second Advisor

Brown, Clarence

Third Advisor

Hamm, Victor M.


Richard Wilbur has written that he believes a poet should write in and for a culture. He feels that a poet does not create the ideas and ideals of a culture, but rather that he gives expression to sensual embodiments of the ideas in order to reveal their relevance to human life and to make realizable their latent emotional impact. In following his own dictum, Wilbur makes extensive use of the idea of the Incarnation, the combination of the ideal and sensual reality. This theme and its ramifications are among the major concerns of his poetry. The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the theme and its different implications in the poetry of Wilbur. The purpose is accomplished chiefly by examination and explication of individual poems and by a study of the interrelation of various poems. The dissertation does not undertake a thorough and systematic study of all the poetry, but only of that which is relevant to this thematic interpretation. Neither is the explication of any one poem complete and exhaustive. The dissertation deals with only those aspects of the poem--sound, imagery, diction, or symbolism--which demonstrably reveal Wilbur's concern with or expression of this particular theme.



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