Poetics of Revelation: Communities of the Literary Oracular in Transatlantic Modernism

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2022

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In this dissertation, Poetics of Revelation: Communities of the Literary Oracular in Transatlantic Modernism, I study practices of cultural mediation in “visionary” poetics from Mexico (Octavio Paz), Spain (María Zambrano), and Bolivia (Jaime Saenz). I set forth a theoretical model (“the literary oracular”) which permits the conflict of poetic revelation to articulate its unity in literary modernism through a critique of instrumental reason leveled by cultural mediators who refused to accept the disintegration of tradition, which they thought had to pass through them if it was to survive. Revelation and discipleship were effects of these authors’ earlier disenchantment with revolutionary platforms that relied on mass culture constructed as a people. Their new concern that “national energy” was so volatile it could turn assemblies into mobs, convinced them of the need for a conduit through which a new transcendence could be discovered and instituted, and to believe that they had to become its custodian if a new community was to be imagined in the wake of revolutionary fatigue. As these authors were poets, they set out to imagine a new language with which to name that transcendence, one which would remain unassailable by the vociferous chatter of the political rally and the marketplace. This poetics of revelation invites us to ask how these modernist mediating agents – working as they did in vernacularizing print cultures which threatened their elite minority status – came to imagine community as a transhistorical colloquium among like-minded interpreters after the failure of politically left-leaning notions of communitarianism.

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Mulligan, Joseph (2022). Poetics of Revelation: Communities of the Literary Oracular in Transatlantic Modernism. Dissertation, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/25164.

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