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Grind the ink, wet the brush, dance the pine tree Reading and writing nature with Gary Snyder's "Riprap" and "Mountains and Rivers Without End"

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Description: When conceptualized as a mode of mere mediation, textual representation reinforces fixed distinctions of author, text, and reader. Representation also posits a division between human culture and nature that troubles ecocritical studies. As a contemporary American poet negotiating the inheritance of Eastern and Western textual models, Gary Snyder employs a strategy of deconstruction, consonant with Jacques Derrida's poststructural philosophy but rooted in Zen Buddhist philosophy, to resolve the divisions of culture/nature and author/text/reader. Snyder's 1959 collection, Riprap, establishes that elemental nature itself is a global text and all local manifestations of human textuality participate in the natural presentation of instability and change. Mountains and Rivers Without End (1996) engages Chinese and Japanese textual aesthetics, Buddhist philosophy, anthropology, and earth science to more specifically identify alphabetic signification with the earth's natural process of play. Characterizing this play as "love," Snyder's poems participate in a nature-culture network in which readers and writers simultaneously collaborate in presenting nature's loving intertextuality. This thesis explores the poetic argument for such an intertextual condition, the negotiable resonances of its limitless sign play, and the proposal of productive relations among its manifold forms.
Language: English
Format: Degree Work