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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:'Frail shared seconds': encounters between humans and other animals in the poetry of Douglas Livingstone
Author:Woodward, WendyISNI
Year:2003
Periodical:The English Academy Review
Volume:20
Pages:44-53
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subject:literature
About person:Douglas Livingstone (1932-)ISNI
Link:https://doi.org/10.1080/10131750385310061
Abstract:This is an ecocritical examination of the poetry of Douglas Livingstone (South Africa), a biologist who wrote about his work and about encounters with animals. The author focuses on his 'Selected poems' (1984) and on his last volume, 'A littoral zone' (1991). She is particularly interested in the politics of Livingstone's representation of animals. Her theorizing of the extent to which Livingstone attributes subjectivity and agency to animals is underpinned by the work of ecological critic Patrick Murphy and ecological philosopher Val Plumwood. She concludes, amongst others, that while Livingstone is a poet with ecological vision, his metaphysics may retain some 'Cartesian dreams of power' which duplicate the dualisms of what Plumwood calls a master consciousness. The coding of Nature as Mother may be fraught for a dominant masculinity, whose response will be either to transcend nature through separation or domination, or to lose the self in an idealized pre-oedipal or pre-lapsarian connection. In spite of his sedulous recording of engagements with animals, both these tendencies surface in Livingstone's poetry. Bibliogr., note. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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