Miming the Poem: Influence and Imitation in Robert Lowell's Poetic


Andrew Walker

Publication Date

January 2010

Document Type



English Language and Literature


Dr. Prior was a reader on the committee for this thesis.


Following the recent work of Christopher Ricks in his book True Friendship, this thesis examines the possibilities and particularities of the influence of the New Critics on Robert Lowell and, more specifically, his poetry. As a way of elucidating Lowell's own comment regarding his indebtedness to New Criticism, Lowell's poetry is examined regarding its use of metaphysical theme, tension, and metaphor. Each of these examinations is given articulation in regards to a specific context in the Lowell canon (Land of Unlikeness, "For the Union Dead," and History) and a specific forebear against which to more clearly establish the claim that, contrary to the arguments put forth by Harold Bloom regarding the occurrence of anxiety, influence can be most readily seen in Lowell's poems as being an instance of a strong poetic miming.