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Reconceptualising the Dramatic Monologue: The Interlocutory Dynamics of Carol Ann Duffy's Poetry.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

  • Jennifer Garrett
Publication date2003
Number of pages310
Awarding Institution
Place of PublicationLancaster
  • Lancaster University
Electronic ISBNs9780438573727
<mark>Original language</mark>English


Previous critics of the dramatic monologue have largely confined their interrogations to the ironic form in the work of male poets. Little attention has been paid to sympathetic and satiric variants of the form and the work of female poets. This thesis claims that a double-stranded inheritance of both an ironic form from Browning, and a sympathetic form from his contemporary Augusta Webster should be recognised for the dramatic monologue in the works of contemporary female poets. My research is focused on the work of Carol Ann Duffy, who is acclaimed as the foremost contemporary exponent of the form. My thesis argues that the recent development of feminist discourse is a contributory factor to the variation of form and diversity of content in the dramatic monologues of contemporary women poets. My findings demonstrate that much of Duffy's work with the form is inscribed with feminist polemic, and has the potential to disseminate the theories and concepts of'feminism' into the public domain. A subsidiary element of my research suggests that there is an interrelation between autobiographical writing and women's dramatic monologues. My readings of ironic, sympathetic and satiric dramatic monologues pay close attention to the interlocutory triad of speaker, audience in the poem, and the external audience, the readers. My method of stylistic and discursive analysis draws upon an eclectic body of feminist concepts and theories. My own life experience is also, at times, incorporated self-reflexively into my readings. The thesis is divided into an Introduction, four chapters of readings and analyses, and a Conclusion which ends with a dramatic monologue of my own. The Introduction interrogates existing critics of the form and defines the methodology of my research. Chapters One and Two consider sympathetic and ironic variants of the form. Chapter Three investigates Duffy's use of a multi-voiced variant. Chapter Four focuses on Duffy's fifth collection and assesses the engagement with feminist ideas.