Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This thesis is devoted to a full explication of the poetry of A. M. Klein. Klein's unpublished and uncollected work, almost all of it located in the Public Archives of Canada, as well as his published poetry volumes (Hath Not a Jew..., Poems (1944), The Hitleriad, The Rocking Chair and Other Poems), are discussed in detail. The thesis begins with Klein's earliest unpublished efforts in the mid to late 'twenties and advances chronologically through to 1948 and the Governor General Award-winning Rocking Chair volume.;It is the author's thesis that Klein's poetry consistently and masterfully represents the central conflict of modernism: the struggle to find order in a fragmented universe. Klein's quest for meaning assumes special resonance in the light of the Jewish burden of identity, isolation, and assimilation in the twentieth century. In the rich Talmudic and Kabbalistic traditions of his Jewish inheritance, with its insistence on the ordering properties of language, Klein finds a nourishing source of moral and aesthetic inspiration. Considerable attention is devoted to Klein's innovatively expressive use of formal poetic devices.;The thesis also relies on Klein's editorial work (for the Judaean and the Canadian Jewish Chronicle) and on an unfinished, unpublished prose manuscript, The Golem, to illuminate Klein's central moral-aesthetic considerations, particularly the poet's relationship to a creative God. In Klein's romantic view of his craft, the poet imitates the first act of creation every time that he puts pen to paper. The act of writing is a necessary act of ordering. That the poet's creative accomplishments may go unheeded and unnoticed in his own age is a sign of both the limitations of that age and the inevitable consequence of the poet's condition. This theme finds its fullest expression in the splendid "Portrait of the Poet as Landscape," the concluding poem of both The Rocking Chair volume and this thesis. As a whole, The Rocking Chair and Other Poems represents Klein at his most elegant and accomplished. The poems of that volume are distinguished by a fitting and graceful suspension of tensions, such as subject and object, form and content, poet and landscape, past and present, interior and exterior space. (Abstract shortened with permission of author.)



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.