English Language and Literature ETDs

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The thesis of this paper rests on the conviction that Allen Tate's essential contribution to letters, despite his connections with the Southern Fugitive and Agrarian movements, is of lasting national importance. He is a critic who, because he is also a modern poet, recognized and developed a new critical stance which was quite relevant to the concerns of other men of letters of his generation. In order to understand how this stance developed one must understand Tate's own loss of traditional values after World War I. This loss is best expressed in his poetry, but its implications are carried out in his critical theories. Tate's development as a critic can be shown as a continuing movement toward regarding the poem more and more as an object in itself, the source of experience and conception, rather than as a statement, or fable, that is clarified from without by reference to external ideas. In terms of this developmental view of Allen Tate's critical theory it is not vital to discuss all of his critical statements but rather only those most representative of the various changes in Tate's critical posture. For this reason some of the more famous essays such as "The Man of Letters in the Modern World," and "The Symbolic Imagination" are not discussed.

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First Committee Member (Chair)

John Stephen Martin

Second Committee Member

Franklin Miller Dickey

Third Committee Member

Joseph Marshall Kuntz



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