Style And The Experiment: The Coherence Of Experimental Writing
This dissertation tracks "style" as it is produced by literary experimentation: I consider the selfreferential style of William Carlos Williams' Kora in Hell, the mechanical, automated movement of style in William Burroughs' two trilogies, the minimal "literariness" needed to make appropriation in U.S. Conceptual Writing function as poetry, and the role of the image in the styles of John Ashbery, Bernadette Mayer, and Raymond Queneau. Style functions as a machine, as a structure that ties syntax to plot, as both an effect of writing and a cause, and as the creation of a text's apparent subjectivity. In these readings, I proceed from the many critical assumptions of style's outdatedness-like Fredric Jameson's insistence that the term does not apply to works produced after modernism, and to less period-restricted rejections of style's implications of individuality-in order to redefine style in terms of its relationship to the experiment. I argue that style is what makes experimental writing legible as literature; it is the condition of differentiating writing, recognizable by the stylistic phenomena that, according to Gérard Genette's semiotics of style, must somehow cohere into stylistic features. By examining works more often discussed in terms of their abilities to stave off style via disjunction, I find style where it should not be: in works made by citation or collage, by procedures that emphasize chance or otherwise undermine authorial intent, writers fail to rid themselves of this sense of authorial coherence.
American Poetry; Style; Experimental writing
Saccamano,Neil Charles; Gilbert,Roger Stephen; McNulty,Tracy K.
Ph.D. of Comparative Literature
Doctor of Philosophy
dissertation or thesis