Date of Award

Spring 1991

Document Type

Dissertation - Restricted

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Schwartz, Joseph

Second Advisor

Schrieber, Alois J.

Third Advisor

De Falco, Joseph

Abstract

This study prompted by the need for a sustained and significant discussion of the work of the important contemporary poet Samuel Hazo, undertakes a comprehensive analysis of his poetry. Implicit overall is the argument that Hazo's poetry is best understood by being placed in the context of the dominant tendencies of our postmodern literary culture of the past thirty years. Growing out of this culture of the past thirty years. Growing out of this culture's rejection of the notion of a transcendent-signified, these tendencies include denigrating the power of language to shape and replace the world and nullifying the ability of consciousness to locate and define a self. Taken together, these tendencies abolish the idea of a significant external reality. A careful rhetorical and thematic analysis of Hazo's poetry reveals his resistance to postmodern literary culture's assault upon language and the self. In the face of this assault, his poetry reaffirms the tyranscendent-signified, the essence of his resistance lying in his religious sensibility. It is argued that Hazo's religious sensibility, his faith that language and the self are grounded in a transcendent reality, accounts for his conviction that language and the self possess meaningfulness as temporal realities. The full significance of Samuel Hazo's poetry cannot be gleaned from its technical merit alone. The risks he has taken and continues to take in resisting the tendencie3s of his literary culture by way of his religious sensibility should also be considered in assessing the value of his poetry and determining his place in the literary canon.

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