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Rhythm, composition and semantics in R.S. Thomas’s “No”, “Kneeling”, and “Via Negativa”.

Tomasz Wisniewski, University of Gdansk

The main objective of my paper is to present a semiotic analysis of three poems by R.S. Thomas. The research material should enable me: 1) to exemplify idiosyncratic employment of the poetic devices; 2) to illustrate functional juxtaposition of various compositional units (such as a metrical foot, a hemistich, a line, a stanza, a sentence, an entire text); and 3) to underline paradigmatic and syntagmatic tensions between/within particular textual levels. Rather than focus on a unified interpretation of particular poems, I  shall concentrate on the complexity of functions that are ascribed to individual compositional units. The functional analysis of rhythm in the selected poems of R.S. Thomas is treated as the indispensable groundwork for their further interpretation.
Methodological background for this paper encompasses Central and Eastern European schools of literary studies such as Russian formalism, Prague and Polish structural schools, Tartu semiotics. (They are not treated, though, dogmatically.)
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