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Calling Back to the Wild: Postmodernity and the Cultural History of Wilderness

SPAIN, NATHANIEL,JOSEPH (2017) Calling Back to the Wild: Postmodernity and the Cultural History of Wilderness. Masters thesis, Durham University.

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In postmodernity, wilderness still occupies a space in our cultural imagination. This is perhaps
surprising considering the decline of uncontrolled natural spaces in recent history and
postmodernity’s typically subversive attitude toward previous cultural ideas and narratives, of
which the wilderness image – as a hallmark of religious writing, medieval romances, folklore and
many other forms – is evidently a part. While this thesis will explore the possibility that
postmodernity is less subversive than typically assumed, it will also uncover the fact that
wilderness spaces have thematic commonalities with the intricacies of postmodern critical theory,
such as Derridean deconstruction. This thesis will therefore take a comparative approach,
examining a selection of postmodern texts against a wide spectrum of earlier manifestations of the
wilderness theme. This will demonstrate the prevalence of the wilderness image, reveal trends and
narratives concerning its significance throughout history, and explore how postmodernity
preserves, critiques or otherwise responds to prior representations of wilderness spaces and the
values they promote.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Award:Master of Arts
Keywords:wilderness, postmodern, postmodernism, postmodernity, comparative, J G Ballard, Cormac McCarthy, Angela Carter, nature, ecocriticism, posthumanism, environment, literature
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2017
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:27 Jul 2017 13:18

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