A Jaussian reading of Isaac Rosenberg
This thesis examines how two audiences – Jewish and non-Jewish – received the poetry of Isaac Rosenberg (1890–1918) and probes Rosenberg's shifting place in the World War I poetry canon. The tool for this analysis is Jaussian Reception Theory, which looks at how audience responses to his works have changed over time. Jauss premises that we understand our own culture better if we are alert to the nuances, the uncertainties, the contradictions, and the undecidability of our own signifying practices; he emphasizes the complexities of the signification process, and the ways in which signification recruits people to specific values and also how it challenges those values. This thesis concludes that the anti-orthodox, anti-heroic, graphic details of Rosenberg's poetry initially caused it to fit uncomfortably in the English canon but effectively challenged the values of English and American readers enough to cause its eventual emergence as a definitive expression of modern warfare.
British and Irish literature
0593: British and Irish literature