Gregory, Janice. Quotation and Modern American Poetry: "Imaginary Gardens with Real Toads." Houston, TX: Rice UP, 1996.
Gregory's study compares the poetics of quotation in T.S. Eliot, William Carlos Williams, and Marianne Moore. Quotation, she argues, either draws on the authority of what a writer quotes or parodies that same authority. She identifies four pre-Modernist conceptions of the function of quotation, each allied with a different epoch: Christian antiquity and the medieval, Renaissance, and Romantic periods. Apostolic and Pauline texts quote Jesus and the Old Testament to invoke the awe of revelation, the binding force of law, and to establish their own authority. Medieval writers invoke the same authority from non-Christian authors, especially Aristotle. The Renaissance, through figures like Erasmus and Cervantes, instigates the double character of quotation, useful for authorization and parody. The Romantic period witnesses the rise of a discourse of originality that created immense anxiety in poets like Coleridge and Wordsworth over their belatedness in relation to great poets like Milton. Their rare instances of quotation are in the service of transferring authority to modern, secular forces. Setting this anxiety in an American context, Emerson insists in the 1830s that originality and quotation are not mutually exclusive, thus setting the stage for poetry that acknowledges a great debt to tradition but nevertheless seeks to establish an original relation to the universe.
Gregory argues that Eliot, Williams, and Moore all employ quotation to explore the way authority is gendered, particularly with reference to America's belatedness in secular history. Borrowing on the work of Marie Borroff, Gregory demonstrates how Moore's inclusion of "promotional prose" and the text from park monuments, intimate conversations, volumes of natural history, and other non-canonical language alongside quotations from Yeats and allusions to Browning throws into question the hierarchies on which the authority of quotation rests. These "unauthoritative" texts enter the realm of literature for multiple purposes, among them revaluation, modest depersonalization, and the establishment maternal authority. Gregory also suggests that Moore's practice of quotation influenced T.S. Eliot, not the other way around, by convincing him that he could fashion poetry "out of a refusal to digest the fragments of the texts that inspired it." Gregory allows me to argue that Moore's practice of quotation serves several of the analogous functions that sampling serves in music, and subsequently that there might be a causal relationship between Moore's nationality and the views she held on quotation.