UBC Theses and Dissertations

UBC Theses Logo

UBC Theses and Dissertations

Beginning Again Sprout, Frances Mary


In "Beginning Again: Derek Walcott's Another Life and William Wordsworth's Prelude." I read Another Life through/against The Prelude, focusing on how Walcott claims arid continues the inheritance represented by The Prelude as well as on ways he re-writes this work, modifying and subverting it to suit his post-colonial needs. Like M.H. Abrams, I use The Prelude as a representative text, reading it as a culmination and embodiment of Romantic theory and practice. In my introduction, I note other comparisons of the two works, offer an overview of the thesis, and discuss the critical response which labels Walcott's work too Eurocentric to be relevant. I respond to this by offering post-colonial theory which asserts the legitimacy of "appropriation and reconstitution of the language of the centre" (Ashcroft et al. 38), and I discuss Graham Huggan's and Rei Terada's work on the use of mimicry in the Caribbean. Walcott's simultaneous love for and frustration with the Western canon which is part of his heritage is particularly noticeable in three areas, each of which is the focus of one of my chapters: 1)nature and landscape imagery; 2), the notion of the divided self; and 3) the form, structuring principles, and narrative patterns. In the first chapter, I consider how Walcott writes back to a canon which presents Nature either as paradisal, as divided into either the beautiful or the sublime, or as a partner in a nurturing, reciprocal relationship with the poet. In the second chapter, I discuss the,two poets' shared perception of their divided selves, arguing that while Wordsworth's conclusion presents a confidence in the possibility of regaining integrity, Walcott insists that there never has been such integrity in the colonies, and thus, it can never be recovered. The third chapter considers Walcott's choice of the epic form, as well as his modification of Wordsworth's narrative patterns and structuring principles. I conclude by asserting that, like the Romantic project as Abrams summarizes it, Another Life is simultaneously subversive and conservative, reformulating the epic in order to ensure its continued post-colonial relevance.

Item Media

Item Citations and Data


For non-commercial purposes only, such as research, private study and education. Additional conditions apply, see Terms of Use https://open.library.ubc.ca/terms_of_use.