MacDiarmid’s poetical activity and especially his linguistic experimentalism in Scots places him right into the transnational modernist context, though proudly expressing a militant focus on the vernacular. The same combination of the “global” and the “local outlooks” (Gairn, 2008), to use Gairn’s words, also applies to MacDiarmid’s relationship with the landscape. While celebrating his native Scotland through the sheer beauty of its nature, the poet indeed constantly urges for a ‘universal’ ecological perspective, fostering a global and local coexistence between humans and their environment. Drawing from Matthew Hart’s definition of MacDiarmid’s long poem In Memoriam James Joyce as “transnational” (Hart, 2010), the first section of chapter one identifies this national/transnational tension as one of the main drives in MacDiarmid’s creative universe. National and transnational perspectives, modernity and tradition, ecopoetical and anthropocentric stances, however, are not irreconcilable dichotomies but coexists in MacDiarmid’s poetical narrative. Chapter two defines the theoretical approach of my research, focusing on ecocriticism and then narrowing the focus on ecopoetry, the specific context of my investigation. It is in particular Bate’s description of his own study as a work “about the capacity of the writer to restore us to the earth which is our home,” (Bate, 2000) that perfectly illustrates the aim of ecopoetics. Chapter three mainly explores MacDiarmid’s ecopoetical way of using language. The first section focuses on the important role of science in defining this kind of language. Drawing from H. W. Mabie’s idea of language originating from man’s “intimacy” with nature (Mabie, 1896), the second section explores how MacDiarmid constantly compares poetic language, poem and the act of poem-making to natural manifestations of nature. Chapter four investigates in detail the different attitudes towards the non-human world the speaker stages in MacDiarmid’s poems: estrangement and ‘positive passivity’. The term ‘positive passivity’ originates from my own reflection on some ecopoetical recurring attitudes, as identified by ecocritics, and represents a form of resistance against an active and destructive behaviour towards the environment. It embraces all those ‘non-actions’, such as listening, silence, non-acts of humility and awe, that allow human beings to connect with the non-human world. Finally, chapter five explores cases of liminality between the human and the non-human world in MacDiarmid’s poems. Neil Evernden and Timothy Morton’s ecocritical considerations on liminality I have mentioned in chapter two reveal themselves as extremely useful here. In MacDiarmid’s poetry cases of liminality either occur in the natural world or involve the interaction between the human and the non-human world, such as human and non-human bodies or urban and natural spaces.
|Titolo:||"But this cliff is not dead": An Ecocritical Reading of Hugh MacDiarmid's Poetry|
|Data di pubblicazione:||2018|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||07.13 Doctoral Thesis|