William Carlos Williams and the Diagnostics of Culture
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William Carlos Williams and the Diagnostics of Culture

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Bremen's study examines the development of William Carlos Williams's poetics, focusing in particular on Williams's ongoing fascination with the effects of poetry and prose, and his life-long friendship with Kenneth Burke. Using a framework based on Burke's and Williams's theoretical writings and correspondence, as well as on the work of contemporary cultural critics, Bremen looks closely at how Williams's poetic strategies are intimately tied to his medical practice, incorporating a form of methodological empiricism that extends his diagnoses beyond the individual to include both language and community. The book develops a series of rhetorical, cognitive, medical, and political analogues that clarify the poetic and cultural achievements Williams hoped to realize in his writing.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 241 pages
  • 162.1 x 236.7 x 21.6mm | 567g
  • Oxford University Press Inc
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 019507226X
  • 9780195072266

Back cover copy

Brian Bremen's innovative re-examination of William Carlos Williams's life and work traces the development of Williams's poetics, focusing in particular on his ongoing fascination with the effects of poetry and prose. In an analysis informed by the insight of contemporary cultural critics, Bremen traces Williams's thought from the confused romanticism of Spring and All to the methodological empiricism of Paterson, examining in the process Williams's correspondence with life-long friend Kenneth Burke and their shared theoretical interests. Through this fresh conceptual frame-work, Bremen shows how Williams's role as poet becomes more congruous with his role as doctor. In addition, Bremen looks closely at Williams's economic and social theories in light of those of Ezra Pound and T.S. Eliot, making a case for the consistency of Williams's thought on medicine, gender, economics, poetry and prose, and history. William Carlos Williams and the Diagnostics of Culture is essential reading for scholars not only of Williams, but also of Modernism, twentieth-century literature, and cultural criticism and history.show more

Review quote

A valuable addition to Williams scholarship. Bremen's readings of individual books and poems are challenging, consistent, and illuminating. The chapter on Williams and medicine is one of the finest pieces I have read on the poet. It will be required reading for scholars of Williams. * Christopher MacGowan, College of William and Mary *show more

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