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Oceanic connections: the sea and island spaces in Irish and Caribbean poetry

Howley, Ellen (2020) Oceanic connections: the sea and island spaces in Irish and Caribbean poetry. PhD thesis, Dublin City University.

This thesis examines the work of four major poets from Ireland and the anglophone Caribbean, connecting their work through a shared interest in the sea and island spaces. Employing the theory of the synaptic sea and informed by ideas from across the Blue Humanities and oceanic studies, it compares the work of Lorna Goodison (Jamaica), Seamus Heaney (Northern Ireland), Eiléan Ní Chuilleanáin (Republic of Ireland) and Derek Walcott (St Lucia). The growing field of Irish-Caribbean Studies demonstrates the common outlooks between these regions and this thesis engages with this research, with a particular interest in the sea as a space which challenges and disrupts landed ideals. The island space prompts a consideration of the interaction of land and water and this thesis begins by assessing each poet’s attitude to their unique island space, revealing the points of connection between the islands of the Caribbean and the island of Ireland. This pushes the gaze out to sea as Goodison, Heaney, Ní Chuilleanáin and Walcott look to the sea to find a poetics with which to write. This poetics, in turn, allows each poet to contemplate their contemporary moment and this thesis examines how the distinct but interrelated ideas of nation, gender, and mythic time are fruitfully examined by these poets through writing with and about the sea. The position of sailors within the nation, the gendering that takes place on and of the sea and the literary and historical connections forged on the mythic sea are all at stake in this discussion. In its focus on the sea, this thesis demonstrates the importance of expanding the gaze of the environmental humanities towards non-landed concerns, while also offering new perspectives on the poets considered here. The sea’s connective powers make it a fruitful site of comparison, drawing attention to lines of transatlantic connections across the unique but related poetic traditions of Ireland and the Caribbean.
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Date of Award:November 2020
Supervisor(s):McNulty, Eugene and Hinds, Michael
Uncontrolled Keywords:Postcolonial studies; Irish Studies; Caribbean Studies
Subjects:Humanities > Literature
DCU Faculties and Centres:DCU Faculties and Schools > Faculty of Humanities and Social Science > School of English
Use License:This item is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. View License
Funders:School of English PhD Scholarship
ID Code:24947
Deposited On:07 Dec 2020 13:28 by Eugene Mcnulty . Last Modified 03 Sep 2021 03:30

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