Connection, disconnection and the self in Alice Oswald’s Dart

Middleton, Rowan (2014) Connection, disconnection and the self in Alice Oswald’s Dart. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 19 (2). pp. 157-169. ISSN 1468-8417

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Abstract

This article examines how Alice Oswald’s book-length poem Dart complicates and extends debates about the local and global. Aspects of environmentalism that focus on a physical connection with a local environment have been criticised by those such as Ursula K. Heise and Val Plumwood, who argue that such a connection is insufficient and stress the need for a greater understanding of global interconnectedness. Whilst Dart has a distinctly local emphasis in that it focuses on the river Dart in Devon and the landscape that it flows through, the poem’s envisioning of this specific geographical feature is far from being static or isolated. In addition to combining different spatial and temporal elements, Oswald’s poem transcends the physical through its engagement with the river’s spiritual and mythological aspects. The ‘fragmented’ structure used to achieve this is read as a literary example of Claude Lévi-Strauss’s ‘bricolage’ since the idea of bricolage is also relevant in relation to ideas of the self. Michael Leyshon and Jacob Bull’s work on ‘the bricolage of the here’ is used to examine the relationship between place and the identities of Dart’s characters. This enables the ‘local/global’ debate to be seen in the context of the relationship between self and world as discussed in the work of Charles Taylor and David Borthwick.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Green Letters, Studies in Ecocriticism on 6 November 2014, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/14688417.2014.972427
Uncontrolled Keywords: Alice Oswald, Dart, bricolage, self, Ursula K. Heise, Charles Taylor, interconnected world, connective estrangement
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR500 Poetry
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Liberal and Performance Arts > Literary and Critical Studies
Research Priority Areas: Being Human - Past, Present & Future
Depositing User: Rowan Middleton
Date Deposited: 20 Jan 2015 16:11
Last Modified: 23 Jun 2017 07:48
URI: http://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1224

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