Geo- and Ecocritical Considerations of Derek Walcott’s Multitasking, Omnipresent Sea

Doris Hambuch

Abstract


This essay identifies four related functions regarding representations of the sea in Derek Walcott’s poetry. Historical, communicative, and spiritual functions of the ocean trope appear to complement the overarching self-referential purpose throughout the massive oeuvre of the eighty-five year old St. Lucian Nobel Laureate. Despite Walcott’s preoccupation with maritime and nautical imagery, this trope remains insufficiently studied. A more recent increase in attention owes to the two related critical approaches labeled eco- and geocriticism. Situating the former closer to the so-called humanities and the latter to the social – or natural sciences, this essay argues that they are equally relevant for the present study. Relying on Ben T. Jefferson’s conclusion in “The Sea as Place in Derek Walcott’s Poetry” (2013), that Walcott’s representations of the sea favor phenomenological understanding as they challenge notions of nation, the focus is on the trope as active, driving force with its own agency.

 


Keywords


Caribbean literature; cultural geography; ecocriticism; geocriticism; poetry; Derek Walcott

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References


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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7575/aiac.ijalel.v.4n.6p.196

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