Burying language: Elegy in the works of Kevin Young, Anne Tardos, and Kenneth Goldsmith
Schepers, Jacob Thomas
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The aim of this thesis is to explore elegiac language's relation to psychological mourning in three recent texts by contemporary American poets. Using the framework of Jean-Pierre Vernant's 1965 essay "The Figuration of the Invisible and the Psychological Category of the Double: The Kolossos" as a critical lens, the central concern driving this thesis is how elegy (and language more broadly) can serve as a substituted double for the absent dead in the manner of the kolossos. To investigate this idea, Kevin Young's Dear Darkness: Poems (Knopf, 2008), Anne Tardos's I Am You (Salt Publishing, 2008), and Kenneth Goldsmith's Seven American Deaths and Disasters (PowerHouse, 2013) provide a cross-section of contemporary elegy, each showcasing varied aspects of psychological mourning in poetry.