7. The Self-Elegy

Narcissistic Nostalgia or Proleptic Postmortem?

  1. Erik Martiny
  1. Eve C. Sorum

Published Online: 27 OCT 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444344318.ch7

A Companion to Poetic Genre

A Companion to Poetic Genre

How to Cite

Sorum, E. C. (2011) The Self-Elegy, in A Companion to Poetic Genre (ed E. Martiny), John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, Chichester, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444344318.ch7

Author Information

  1. University of Massachusetts, Boston, USA

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 27 OCT 2011
  2. Published Print: 23 SEP 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781444336733

Online ISBN: 9781444344318



  • self-elegy, narcissistic nostalgia or proleptic postmortem;
  • self-elegy, often elided, younger sibling of the elegy;
  • self-elegies, grappling with two conflicting desires;
  • switching of worth between body and verse;
  • Dickinson's contemporaneous pieces, destabilizing afterworld;
  • Dickinson, ushering self-elegy into its modernist phase;
  • Owen, using a posthumous voice in the poem;
  • Stevie Smith's self-elegies, preoccupied with death in her poetry;
  • Dunn's poem, evading nostalgia that self-elegy falls prey to;
  • self-elegy, looking at the poet as product of place and age


This chapter contains sections titled:

  • References and Further Reading