From 'Web of Life' to Necropolis: An Ecocritical Perspective on Urban Vitalism in Late-Nineteenth and Early-Twentieth-Century Anglo-American Poetry
Author: Den Tandt, Christophe
Source: Comparative American Studies, Volume 7, Number 2, June 2009 , pp. 98-110(13)
Publisher: Maney Publishing
Abstract:This paper investigates urban vitalism as it developed in Anglo-American poetry from the mid-nineteenth to the early twentieth century. After a few remarks about the status of vitalism in realist and naturalist fiction, the article focuses on American romantic poet Walt Whitman and late-Victorian Scottish poet James Thomson, with passing references to French protomodernist Charles Baudelaire, as well as Anglo-American modernists T. S. Eliot and Hart Crane. Beyond tracing the development of urban vitalism as a literary phenomenon, the paper evaluates the ecocritical value of this discourse, especially with reference to its capacity to map the urban sphere. This part of the argument uses as theoretical background the Marxist theory of reification. The latter seems on first inspection hostile to vitalistic discourse, but proves useful in circumscribing the critical relation of urban vitalist discourse with regard to technocapitalism.
Document Type: Research Article
Affiliations: Université Libre de Bruxelles (ULB), Belgium;, Email: Christophe.Den.Tandt@skynet.be
Publication date: 2009-06-01