Year of Publication

2011

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

College

Arts and Sciences

Department

Hispanic Studies

First Advisor

Enrico Mario Santí

Abstract

This dissertation explores the relationship between language, sacramentality, and enchantment in three twentieth-century Argentine poets: Francisco Luis Bernárdez (1900-1976), Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986), and Alejandra Pizarnik (1936-1972). It seeks to ask and answer two fundamental questions. First, to what extent might it be possible to understand the conception of poetic language characteristic of modern poetry as an articulation, however muffled and secularized, of a sacramental apprehension of language and world? Second, how might such a conception be related to what Max Weber famously called “the disenchantment of the world”? The dissertation begins with a broad overview of the development of the concept of disenchant within Western culture and then proceeds to a reading of the three poets mentioned above. Special attention is given throughout both to historical and political context and to the specific ways in which Bernárdez, Borges, and Pizarnik understand and employ poetic language. In each case, I attempt to show how, among both secular and religious poets, language retains vestiges of a sacramental understanding of the world.

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