Date of Award

8-1-2013

Degree Name

Master of Arts

Department

English

First Advisor

Molino, Michael

Abstract

This thesis project analyzes the influence of T.S. Eliot, named "the first Cambridge poet" by Jeremy Noel-Tod, on Cambridge poets Andrew Crozier and Peter Riley, particularly through their representations of the quotidian. At stake is the larger question: what is the often hidden effect of the objects that surround us in daily life? Or even--what is the value of daily life? By extension, their representation of the quotidian directly affects their depiction of the physical environment allowing for an ecocritical debate in which landscape determines how individuals place themselves in a familiar physical environment defined by tradition, culture, and the routine. Regarding the influence of landscape on the poet, Eliot said, "[m]y poetry, like that of other poets, shows traces of every environment in which I have lived." He, of course, was not referring to Nature, but how social geographies encapsulate traditions, culture, and language, in what can be classified as ecologically-informed memories. One section of this project addresses the present scholarly (mis)interpretation of ecocritism, moving it beyond a discourse of global sustainability or sustainable environmental practices to a more distinct focus in what phenomenologists refer to an ecological sphere of existence in which the daily lives of people become inseparable from the environments in which they have lived.

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