Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of Romance Studies
The dissertation examines the Chilean poet David Rosenmann-Taub's views of death through the analysis of poems from his tetralogy Cortejo y Epinicio (completed in 2013), and supplemented by his poems and commentaries in Quince (2008). The first chapter describes the poet's work and critical reception, reviews other scholarly studies that deal with the subject of death in the poet's work, and describes the dissertation's goals, methodology and structure. The second chapter analyzes poems that demonstrate the presence of death in life and the constant movement toward death throughout the multiverse and in man, as well as the countervailing desire for and movement towards conscious life. The third chapter illustrates Rosenmann-Taub's views of life after death, ranging from an existential perspective of death as nothingness and oblivion to other conceptions of an afterlife that imagine a fully developed consciousness. In the fourth chapter, the poems considered describe the juxtaposition of life and death at the instant of death, and by prolonging that liminal moment illustrate more fully the transformation from one state of being to the other. Also, the poet proposes that conscious life is in constant juxtaposition with the death that is the individual's unconscious behavior; the poems discussed here illustrate the importance of the individual's attitude in his struggle to lead a conscious life. The final chapter summarizes the findings of the previous three chapters, describes Rosenmann-Taub's essentialist worldview regarding nature and natural processes, life, death and consciousness, and contrasts the poet's worldview with prevailing ontological perspectives. Throughout the study, the interpretive methodology makes use of semiotic and formal analysis to approximate the poems' meaning. These analyses are supplemented both by Rosenmann-Taub's expression of his worldview and by the poet's own phonological, syntactic and semantic patterns as they manifest themselves in his poetic universe.