College Honors Program

Title

Writing Home Beyond Domesticity: Elizabeth Bishop and Mascha Kaléko

Date of Creation

5-1-2022

Document Type

Campus Access Only

Department

English

First Advisor

Susan Elizabeth Sweeney

Second Advisor

Sylvia Schmitz-Burgard

Abstract

My thesis Writing Home Beyond Domesticity: Elizabeth Bishop and Mascha Kaléko focuses on comparing how both the American poet Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) and the Berlin poet Mascha Kaléko (1907-1975) express home as a physical and an abstract concept. Historically and culturally contextualizing their unconventional lives—marked by loss, displacement, and homesickness—exacerbates their uneasy relationship with home. Struggling to find a place of belonging, these women turned to poetry to preserve the most important aspects of their lives, including physical structures once identified as home as well as intimate relationships. Analyzing their works reveals how their perception of home derives from experiences outside of the domestic sphere. In turn, poetry functions as a substitute home for Bishop and Kaléko because it provides these writers with the necessary structure and distance to effectively cope with their losses.

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