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Write an essay comparing and contrasting the treatment of theme and technique in the works: English Literature Essay, TCD, Ireland

Task

Ezra Pound wanted Modernist writers to ‘Make it New’. Write an essay comparing and contrasting the treatment of theme and technique in the works of TWO American poets, drawing on the work of Whitman or HD or Stevens or Moore or Bishop, exploring how each poet ‘made it new’. Your essay should refer to at least THREE poems by each poet.

OR

Write an essay on Modernism in Irish literature, comparing and contrasting the treatment of theme and technique in TWO Irish course texts. You may write on any two of the Irish course texts by either Joyce OR Beckett OR MacNeice OR O’Brien. You should choose works in two different genres (for example, one play and one novel).

Guidelines

This essay asks you to comment on the works of two American poets on your course in relation to Pound’s dictum that Modernist literature should ‘Make it New’.

This ‘newness’ involves a newness with regard to the subject matter, or a newness in perspective on already established subject matter/themes, for example, American society and culture, specifically American locales/landscapes, American personal lived experience, and as we are dealing with poets, the nature and function of American poetry.

Equally importantly, it is reasonable to assume that new subject matter or new perspectives are best rendered through the use of new techniques/forms or the innovative usage of traditional techniques/forms. With this in mind, your essay should approach your chosen works with both form and content in mind.

The main body of your essay should contain close readings of your six chosen poems, highlighting this ‘newness’ in both their treatment of theme and technique, as well as the relation between the two.

Your conclusion should summarise your main points, but should also widen your essay’s focus, situating your chosen poets’ works in relation to their contribution to the development of American poetry, to American society/culture, to individual Americans’ experiences, and to Modernism in general.

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