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Archipelago: a Literary Ecology of Heligoland and the Frisian Coast

Ewart, Elaine M (2019) Archipelago: a Literary Ecology of Heligoland and the Frisian Coast. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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[img] Text (Thesis Vol 2 of 2)
Ewart Thesis Deposit vol 2.pdf
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Abstract

This thesis combines creative non-fiction (Volume 1) with analytical commentary (Volume 2) which, together, turn an ecocritical lens on Heligoland and the Frisian coast. I posit the region of Heligoland and the surrounding coastal area as a bioregion, an area with a fluid, ambivalent identity, crossing national borders and looking outwards to the marine environment; an identity shaped by the slow changes of geology and the movement of the North Sea. Drawing on psychogeography, memoir and the New Nature Writing to explore the relationship between the landscape and the cultures, literatures and languages which have developed there, I challenge, via my creative piece, homogeneous approaches to place-based writing and interrogate the narratives imposed by dominant cultures focussed on mainland experience and viewpoints. My route follows in the footsteps of Heinrich Heine, the German Romantic radical poet whose work was inspired by his vacations on the islands of Heligoland, Norderney and on the North German coast: however, I supplement his outsider viewpoint with native voices, histories and legends. As narrator, I negotiate my outsider status and engage with the different, multi-layered ecologies, both human and non-human, of this underexplored section of North Sea coast. In the commentary, I make the case for my creative piece as a contribution to a developing body of archipelagic literature, which inverts mainstream cultural ideas of the centre and the periphery, arguing for a form of writing which forges connections between the local and the global. I discuss the ways in which I incorporate the voices of writers and others involved with this coastal area, paralleling or contrasting their stories with my own. Writing, as Heine was, at a time of major political and ecological upheaval, I explore, through the changing landscape of Heligoland and the Frisian coast, ways of representing the relationship between geological and human timescales in the context of the Anthropocene.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: New Nature Writing, travel writing, psychogeography, ecocriticism, North Sea, Romantic, Heinrich Heine, languages
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Elaine Ewart
Date Deposited: 13 Sep 2019 08:41
Last Modified: 13 Sep 2019 08:41
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/25326

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