Ecocentric polyphony: the subversion of dualistic thinking in Dylan Thomas’s poetry

Thesis Type: Doctorate

Institution Of The Thesis: Middle East Technical University, Turkey

Approval Date: 2019

Thesis Language: English

Student: Zümrüt Altındağ



As part of its subversion of dichotomous logic, ecocriticism draws attention to the significant function the literary works can play in the process of calling for fundamental changes in the ethical values regarding the appreciation of the ecological interconnectedness between the human and the nonhuman beings. In this respect, post-pastoral literature and ecopoetry target dichotomous logic and try to revitalise ecocentrism. This thesis argues that prior to the introduction of these two recent ecocritical frames, as part of his struggle with the crisis of representation, Dylan Thomas portrayed a polyphonic ecocentric world and composed post-pastoral and ecopoems that attack anthropocentrism by restoring the bond between man and nature, and celebrate the nonhuman and the oppressed other as speaking subjects. This study discusses how Thomas’s quest for meaning at the chaotic modernist backdrop motivated him to deconstruct man/nature, culture/nature dualities and to problematise the hegemony of time over space in the poems published in Collected Poems 1934-1953. This dissertation concludes that as a precursor of post-pastoral literature and ecopoetry, Thomas established ecocentrism as the centrepiece of both his life and works, and called for global ecological consciousness by portraying that the world is actually operating on non-hierarchical and non-anthropocentric laws that urge the ecological interconnectedness of all beings.