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Landscape as metaphor of history in time and space in Derek Walcott’s poetry

Effumbe Kachua


The history and culture of the Caribbean are inextricably linked to landscape. Memories of Caribbean history as a kind of Caribbean consciousness is developed through discourse in which “imagined geographies” deplore a sense of a connect between regional and temporal space, with a sense of the sublimity of the cultures. The context of landscape in Caribbean discourse created an aesthetic that initiated a seamless unity between society, history and culture. The vision of the New World as perpetually tied to historical times is the concern of Derek Walcott and other Caribbean writers. The idea that the landscape has mythical presence, historical associations and elemental connotations which became part of the Caribbean consciousness, and the bases for the definition of the Caribbean man is the idea captured by Derek Walcott, Kamau Brathwaite, etc. Landscape in this work connotes the cultural, psychological and socio-political and historical elements. This affirmative vision of the landscape imbued with history; the sense of that feeling for the land, and a responsiveness to its history can be a meaningful way of rooting oneself, and of acquiring an identity. Derek Walcott comes to terms with this issue of history and memory of the ancestral past in Caribbean historiography. This sense of history in the Caribbean world-view of Walcott‟s poetic universe emphasizes exploration of the self and landscape, especially in his earliest collection – juvenilia - of 25 Poems (1948). This visionary inquest in Derek Walcott‟s select poems is what this paper sets to interrogate. This study adopts the Eco-critical theory in the analysis of the studied poems. This theory establishes the relationship between the environment and man and the connect between the socio-cultural in a literary text.

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eISSN: 1813-2227