The Primary Vision: A Study of the Work of Laura (Riding) Jackson
thesisposted on 27.03.2013, 10:28 by Mark Jacobs
The Primary Vision is an attempt to reach an understanding of the work of Laura (Riding) Jackson, long considered by the majority of critics as 'obscure', and to demonstrate the effect of her work on and place in contemporary literature. Part One examines Mrs. Jackson's prose up to the late 1930s. It begins with A Survey of Modernist Poetry, considered as pertinent to her developing thought rather than that of Robert Graves, followed by an examination of the critical work and stories, and concludes with the three volumes of Epilogue, edited and massively contributed to by her. This prepares the ground for the study in Part Two of Mrs. Jackson's poems, her central preoccupation in these years. It seeks to demonstrate how her poems are, with especial reference to her Collected Poems (1938), a clear and literal record of the discovery that the practice of poetry locks knowledge of the nature of truth within its inhibiting processes, and how this led Mrs. Jackson to the renunciation of poetry. Part Three looks at the period from the appearance of Collected Poems to the present, during which time Mrs. Jackson devoted her time to the study of language, and, with her husband, the writing of a book on the nature of language. First are examined the reasons for Mrs. Jackson's renunciation of poetry, to be found in articles and essays published since 1940, and her recent book, The Telling. Then consideration is given to why her renunciation was necessary for the writing of The Telling, and how this book takes as its ground an area of thought always implicit in the promise of poetry but incapable of fulfilment until poetry has been left behind. Finally, the Appendix demonstrates how various critical treatments of Mrs. Jackson and her work, in context of the work of Robert Graves, have manifestly failed to give a just account of it and its relation with his work.