AbstractsEarth & Environmental Science


This thesis examines the relationship between modernist poetry and nature, place and the environment. Challenging reductive notions of modernism as predominantly anthropocentric in character and urban in focus, it argues that within British modernist poetry there is a clear and sustained interest in the natural world and environmental issues. The poets studied in this thesis were writing during a period of significant changes in human/nature relations following the disruptive experience of war and modernity. This thesis considers how each poet responds to these changes and examines the various poetic techniques and approaches employed in order to achieve physical, psychological and artistic reconnection with the non-human world. An ecocritical approach is used to show the importance of nature in the work of Edward Thomas, T. S. Eliot, Edith Sitwell and Charlotte Mew. This approach focuses on the poetic treatment of nature and involves: examining representations of non-human life in both rural and urban environments, identifying the poetic techniques and approaches used to modernise poetic descriptions of the natural world, and charting the growth of an environmental consciousness in each poet. This thesis reveals the importance of nature, place and the environment to British modernist poetry and in doing so contributes to knowledge of an under-examined aspect of the movement. It shows the ability of ecocriticism to provide valuable insights into areas of literature not immediately associated with environmental issues and produces original readings of each poet’s work.