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Title: The speaking world
Author: Pullinger, Mark
ISNI:       0000 0004 2723 4720
Awarding Body: Loughborough University
Current Institution: Loughborough University
Date of Award: 2011
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Using a hybrid of poetry, creative prose, and critical prose, this thesis demonstrates a way in which we can rethink the natural world. Through a series of analyses and original verse and prose, using a reading premise derived from Zen Buddhist philosophy, it presents a vision of animal life and the natural world as philosophically nuanced and psychologically complex. It attempts to reposition the philosophical dominance over the natural world that humans have often considered their monopoly. All the poetry of the thesis engages and illustrates the main critical points outlined here. After an introduction setting out the basic aims and concepts of the thesis, the opening essay quotes David Attenborough. The philosophy espoused in his text, evolutionary theory, cannot be sustained if an animal's psychology is given greater importance. Secondly, from The Life of Birds, I present a critique that suggests that a bird's psychology is complicated to the point of mysticism. The third essay looks at Nietzsche. This piece suggests that what blinds us to the complexity of an animal's world is human ego. Next I look at Marc Bekoff, suggesting that the ego's dominant response is to anthropomorphise animals. The next essay gives a brief reading of Hamlet as a character liberated by a philosophy derived from the sparrow's world. Then follows a series of analyses of poems about non-human animals. A reading of an Emily Dickinson poem shows a narrator trapped in the world of a threatened and unstable ego. Next the poet Ted Hughes and his encounter with a hawk are shown as distanced by the human ego's inability to step outside binary oppositions. Then follows a poem by Gerard Manley Hopkins, where I argue that he draws on the notion of externality, an ego construct. The next poet, Takahashi, writes ego into his poem. His poem fails to speak without it. Finally, I look at D.H. Lawrence. Here the inability of ego to relinquish itself from dominating its encounter with the natural world is critiqued. The discursive parts of the thesis are interwoven with examples of my own creative practice that attempt to put into effect the ideas I am elaborating. In the conclusion, I offer proposals for further thought.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Creative Writing ; Poetry ; Creative-critical ; Hybrid ; Psychology ; Animals ; Nature ; Natural world ; Zen Buddhism ; Philosophy