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Early experiences of literature and writing

A young Fitzgerald looking particularly hot

The first writer to really absorb me was F. Scott Fitzgerald, and it was a passion that has lasted until this day—although as a writer I am nothing like him and never will be.

Later on though, my surroundings enticed me to read Victorian poetry, and I developed a love for Elizabeth Barrett BrowningChristina Rossetti and Emily Brontë.

I always had a love for Victorian romance novels and for a long time my favourite book was Jane Eyre. I read all of the Brontë sisters‘  books, and I also had a childish enthusiasm for Louisa May Alcott who has obsessed me in later life.

With the First Undergraduate, Fitzwilliam College Garden

I was eventually accepted to study for a degree in English Literature at Fitzwilliam CollegeCambridge University, and it was here that I began to write poetry.

It was the Anglo-Saxon paper in the first term of my degree that first inspired me to write poetry. I was drawn to the descriptive power of the language, and the way Anglo-Saxon poets attempt to describe every facet and feature of the mythical world they create.

A rather stern GMH

As Anglo-Saxon poetry is transcribed oral narrative it succeeds in creating an intense vividness of language—transforming it into something so material it seems to become the thing it represents. Of all types of English poetry, Anglo-Saxon comes closest to realising Genette’s Cratylistic theory of the signifier merging with signified.

An Anglo-Saxon manuscript

Studying Anglo-Saxon eventually lead me to the poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins—the first poet to argue that modern English is most suited to the alliterative metre of Anglo-Saxon verse, rather than the syllabic metrical system that came into use in the medieval period.

I favour alliterative verse because I believe that the onomatopoeic qualities of language—particularly embodied in alliteration—are capable of creating more powerful verbal affects, than the use of syllabic stress.

Click here to find out more about my literary interests.

Azelina Copyrighted by Azelina Flint 2012

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