William Carlos Williams and the Diagnostics of Culture

Synopsis

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.

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