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|Title: ||The circle of William Barnes's poetry : a discussion of the language and themes of his dialect poetry|
|Authors: ||Shepherd, Valerie|
|Issue Date: ||1986|
|Publisher: ||© Valerie Shepherd|
|Abstract: ||Barnes saw his dialect art as a means of teaching and preserving
particularly for the stability of his local audience -- conservative
and traditional values. Nevertheless, the poems deal rather more than
has been generally realised with the challenges of the nineteenth century.
Part One of this study discusses Barnes's chosen themes in relation to
his contemporary audiences, both in Blackmore and beyond, and also argues
that there is a warmth and energy in his perceptions which communicates
vital images of rural life that can allow his work to transcend its
contemporary social and political context.
Part Two explains, through descriptive linguistic techniques,
Barnes's practical application of his language theories and the appeal
of dialect to Victorian readers. It is demonstrated that his desire to
achieve a 'pure' language, together with his conviction that the circle
of local speech forms are an integral part (and a signal) of local
personality, may lead to artistic limitations. But it is explained that
these beliefs, in freeing Barnes from the conventions of standard poetic
diction, can also allow a rich individuality. There are, however,
affinities (which may be appropriate in work designed to 'belong' to its
rural personae) between his poems and elements of the folk tradition.
Yet the blending of these with highly intricate verse patterns is handled
with a skill that is able to incorporate natural speech rhythms.
The dissertation develops a judgement that Barnes's aesthetics were
based upon his appreciation of a harmonious 'fitness' which he believed
to be God-given and identifiable in what he took to be nature and
society's inevitable mixture of light and shade. Consequently the themes
and structures of his dialect poetry reflect a desire for compromise,
stability, and optimism in the circle of local life. The result is poetry
rather too limited in its perceptions and language to be of major
significance. But the value of Barnes's work lies in its demonstration
of dialect's artistic potential, in its formal skill, and in the warmth
and vitality of its imagery.|
|Description: ||A Doctoral Thesis. Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the award of Doctor of Philosophy of Loughborough University.|
|Appears in Collections:||PhD Theses (English and Drama)|
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