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date: 28 February 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Taking its starting point from Virginia Woolf’s enigmatic suggestion in A Room of One’s Own (1929) that in a hundred years’ time the woman poet would be ‘born’, this article draws on the psychoanalytic theories of Jessica Benjamin and Terry Castle to offer a series of snapshots which show ways in which women have used the body (or its absence) as a trope for subjectivity in lyric poetry. The article suggests two key lines of poetic descent for women writing in the twenty first century: from Elizabeth Bishop on the one hand, and Plath and Sexton on the other. The work of Joan Easdale, Hope Mirrlees, Sylvia Townsend Warner, Anne Stevenson, Denise Riley, Jo Shapcott, Lavinia Greenlaw, Colette Bryce, Clare Pollard, and Kate Potts is discussed.

Keywords: lyric, women’s poetry, Virginia Woolf, body, Oedipal complex, mutual recognition

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