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Minimalism in twentieth-century American writing

Alexander, K; (2007) Minimalism in twentieth-century American writing. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

My PhD thesis identifies a "will to reduction" in twentieth-century American literature as a significant trend that I trace from the Modernist era to the contemporary period. I locate the origins of contemporary literary Minimalism in Modernist experimentation. In an early chapter I identify reductive tendencies and the values informing them in Imagism, Objectivism, and the writings of Ernest Hemingway and William Carlos Williams. These form the foundation for a tradition of American Minimalism, which I then document in contemporary literature. Robert Creeley is an inheritor of the Objectivists' Minimalist leanings, which recur, by emulation or partial disagreement, in the poetry of Aram Saroyan and Robert Grenier. Raymond Carver renews the Hemingway tradition in his short stories, and one chapter of my thesis considers Carver along with Mary Robison, who has also written a Minimalist novel. Radical, sustained experiments in Minimalism by Robert Lax, Lydia Davis, and David Markson are the subject of subsequent chapters. Their work represents recent versions of Minimalism in poetry, the short story, and the novel. Recurring themes in my thesis are the ways in which some of these authors have been influenced by visual art, and philosophical issues raised by literary experiments in Minimalism.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Minimalism in twentieth-century American writing
Identifier: PQ ETD:593673
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
Additional information: Thesis digitised by ProQuest.
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of English Lang and Literature
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1446326
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