On Romanticism and Post-structuralism

February 7, 2010

I’ve finished #3 on my TBR list (The Bridge of San Luis Rey), so I’m taking a brief detour through a book I’ve owned for a few years but haven’t read: Don McKay’s Vis a Vis: Field Notes on Poetry and Wilderness. McKay is a Canadian environmental poet, to categorize. He writes:

“One word more on post-structural thought: in its problematization of terms like “nature” and “natural” (that is, in their reduction to disguised categories of language and culture) it provides a salutary check on romantic innocence, a positive reminder of the fact of the frame. But – and here I indulge in intuition based on tone and style – its skepticism nurtures its excess, secretly worships a nihilistic impulse as surely as Romanticism worshipped the creative imagination in the guise of nature. It is, no less than Romanticism, an ideology, a politics, and an erotics, despite protestations to the contrary. In the realm of ideas, as in human relations, we do well to suspect any basic drive that presents itself simply as method or a form of rationalism. That is, to be blunt, it is as dangerous to act as though we were not a part of nature as it is to act as though we were not a part of culture; and the intellectual and political distortions produced by these contrary ideologies are greatly to be feared.”       (30-31)


3 Responses to “On Romanticism and Post-structuralism”

  1. G said

    Erin and I presented on this particular poetic work in Adam Dickinson’s Environmental Creative Writing Course. I enjoy McKay quite a bit. He’s a brilliant writer that tackles some intense ideas and themes. Cheers to you.

  2. Love, love, love Don McKay. I quoted him in my archive class last week! [That’s not really a constructive comment, but still: Hurrah for Don McKay! Hurrah!]

  3. […] On Romanticism and Post-structuralism February 2010 2 comments 5 […]

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