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Ecocritical Reading in the Poetry of Ted Hughes

Tongsukkaeng, Chaiyon (2015) Ecocritical Reading in the Poetry of Ted Hughes. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

This thesis explores Ted Hughes’s poetry between the 1950s and 1980s, focusing on an emergent eco-poetics and environmental consciousness in his representations of animals, environments, and natural phenomena. Whereas Hughes’s work has been studied in terms of animals, myths, and history, reading his poetry ecocritically brings rigorous focus to refine the idea of ‘nature’ and address questions of ecological interconnectedness and environmentalism. Engaging with wilderness/wildness in nature, this thesis discusses how poetic language appeals to the unknowability of other-than-human creatures through Hughes’s fascination with creative-destructive forces. His poetry addresses issues of animal subjectivity and environmental ethics in relation to endangered species and wildlife extinction. This study also investigates Hughes’s reinvention of the georgic and elegy through examinations of farm labour and animal husbandry, through which poetic imagination memorialises the deceased farm custodian in the earth. Furthermore, this thesis examines the earth’s natural history and cultural memory to demonstrate Hughes’s eco-poetics of the Yorkshire bioregion in light of Heidegger’s notions of poetic ‘dwelling’ and in relation to the Industrial Revolution, Methodism, and experiences of war. Hughes’s environmental imagination of stones and mill ruins reveal nature as a ‘standing reserve’ and implicate natural history in human history. Finally, Hughes investigates the fluvial environment as the chief muse of poetic creativity and the dynamic ‘riverscape’ where the activity of fishing reveals human contemplation of selfhood, beyond anthropocentrism. Hughes’s poetry bears witness to an environmental consciousness which finds a language of the unknown world of external nature, as a site of ecological integrity.  

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Ecocriticism, Ted Hughes, Eco-poetics, Poetry, Nature, Environmental Humanities
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Arts, Humanities and Cultures (Leeds) > School of English (Leeds)
Identification Number/EthosID: uk.bl.ethos.689229
Depositing User: Mr Chaiyon Tongsukkaeng
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2016 12:25
Last Modified: 25 Jul 2018 09:52
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11616

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