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Poetic Inquiry

Elliott, Carolyn (2012) Poetic Inquiry. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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Poetic inquiry is name for a mode of thought and discovery that seeks to reveal and communicate truths via intuitive contemplation and creative expression. This intuitive / creative mode of knowledge production and way of being in the world was strongly advocated by diverse and important thinkers in the history of criticism and philosophy, including Ralph Waldo Emerson (who called it “American scholarship”) and Martin Heidegger. The process can be broken down into steps and taught to undergraduates via specific exercises of reading, writing, and questioning. When taught, it opens up complex fields of poetic thought and exploration for students. The fruit of poetic inquiry, as discussed by poets and philosophers of literature is understood to be symbols or images that embody a mysterious, yet evident quality that both Kant and Emerson referred to as “soul.” Poetic inquiry is a potentially revitalizing and galvanizing mode of thought for humanistic study and teaching, making available means of engaging with and producing texts that are both very fresh and steeped in poetic tradition. It provides a contemplative alternative to the highly problematic paradigm of objectivist scholarship that grew out of the worldview of 19th century reductive materialism and presently dominates the humanities.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairNovy, Mariannemnovy@pitt.eduMNOVY
Committee MemberAbbey,
Committee MemberDerricotte,
Lundy Martin,
Date: 15 June 2012
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 April 2012
Approval Date: 15 June 2012
Submission Date: 15 May 2012
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 255
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > English
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Emerson, Heidegger, poetry, poetic inquiry, Jane Hirshfield, soul, Geist, transcendentalism, romanticism, pedagogy, classroom, writing, Kant
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2012 20:02
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:58


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