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The Natural Environment in the Selected Poems of John Keats and Niyi Osundare:an Eco-Critical Perspective

Ayinuola, F. I. (2013) The Natural Environment in the Selected Poems of John Keats and Niyi Osundare:an Eco-Critical Perspective. PhD thesis, Covenant University.

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Abstract

The natural environment has progressively been endangered by the activities of man over the past decades. Attention was first drawn to this by the romantic poets who were alarmed by the obvious danger posed to nature by the dynamics of the Industrial Revolution. Several poets of succeeding epochs have sustained this concern in different ways. Previous studies explored the ways different poets engaged this concern with the natural environment. However, no study that we are aware of has taken into account the time-space divide between the nature-poets by which their works were nuanced. This study, therefore, underlined this time-space factor as it compared the nature poems of John Keats and Niyi Osundare. The aim was to show how the poets‘ spacio-temporal realities undergird their delineations of the natural environment in their poetry. The study used eco-criticism, an aspect of literary criticism, as its theory, and interfaced this with the comparative literary approach. Eco-criticism is the study of the relationship between literature and the natural environment, while comparative literature allows for an indepth study of parallels and divergences between the literary development of different nations and between two or more literatures. Thirty-six purposively selected poems by Keats and forty-four by Osundare are subjected to comparative and eco-critical analyses. This is because they are from distinct environments and periods and are also celebrated nature-poets whose works emphasized the particular and the universal, thereby making them appropriate for our nature of analysis. There is a steady decline in the romantic appreciation of the natural environment among nature poets: there is a shift of focus from its adulation to a seemingly more serious concern about its wanton exploitation and destruction. While Keats represented what Schiller called the ‗simple poet‘, Osundare represented the ‗sentimental poet‘. Keats‘ and Osundare‘s positions on the ‗art for art‘ and ‗art for life sake‘ respectively are distinguishing generation and poetic markers that determined our subsequent eco-discourse. Though Keats and Osundare celebrated nature‘s beauty, Osundare specifically uses his poems to chastise humanity and urge moral and social change in favour of the natural environment. The poets‘ particular environments influenced the form and style of their poetry. In addition, there was already in place a well established poetic tradition centred on the natural environment in Osundare‘s Nigerian agrarian environment long before any western contact. Also, there were more environmental challenges in the contemporary world than in Keats‘. Therefore, environment-related terms that were non-existent in Keats‘ days were emerging and Osundare had the singular advantage of acquiring and adopting a wider poetic horizon and content than Keats. The study examined how Osundare inter-textually connected with Keats‘ poetic vision of the environment and how this relationship initiated an environmental specific dialogue between the past and the present. It proposed a distinct class of investigation and practice which we label as eco-poetics and eco-wheels, respectively. Future research should consider a word-pool: collection and compilation of eco-friendly words and terms that are not pejoratives; and Grapho-poetics which is an inter-disciplinary discourse of painting/poetry, photography/poetry and architecture/poetry

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculty of Law, Arts and Social Sciences > School of Humanities
Depositing User: Mr Solomon Bayoko
Date Deposited: 07 Sep 2013 12:22
Last Modified: 07 Sep 2013 12:22
URI: http://eprints.covenantuniversity.edu.ng/id/eprint/1461

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