Full Colour & Splendour and Fatigue

Gregory, Matthew. 2018. Full Colour & Splendour and Fatigue. Doctoral thesis, Goldsmiths, University of London [Thesis]

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Abstract or Description

This essay discusses the travel poetry of John Ash and the historical portraits of Durs Grünbein in relation to my manuscript, Full Colour. Isolated here are the two constitutive elements of my poetry collection: travel and history. Through an appraisal of these two poets, I examine my own thematic concerns and poetics indirectly, before considering the manuscript itself. Overall, the thesis is a practitioner’s perspective that includes both critical analysis of the finished text and reflection on points of craft.

Beginning with John Ash’s ‘Byzantine’ travel poems, the chapter considers his valorisation of the ancient scenery, cities and monuments of the ‘Old World’, as a subtle criticism of modernity. This chapter deploys the concepts of anti-tourism, picturesque and non-place to deepen this analysis, locating an opposition to the commodification of travel and instrumentalisation more broadly.

The focus then turns to the historical portraits of Durs Grünbein and their displacement of a sense of catastrophe (the post-catastrophic) – derived from the German twentieth century – onto scenes from ancient Rome. This section examines the imaginative techniques Grünbein employs to ‘actualize’ his historical scenarios.

These diverse analyses are united in a final chapter on my own manuscript. This dual focus – on travel and history – is necessitated by their mutual role in my work, elicited by the catalyst for many of my poems: a period living in Naples. Drawing from the theoretical categories deployed in relation to Ash and Grünbein, the thesis elucidates a unitary poetics in my manuscript.

Item Type:

Thesis (Doctoral)

Identification Number (DOI):



Poetry, John Ash, Durs Grünbein, Travel, History

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

English and Comparative Literature


31 October 2018

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

28 Feb 2019 16:42

Last Modified:

07 Sep 2022 17:14



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