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Anglophone Cameroon Poetry in the Environmental Matrix

Eunice Ngongkum

This book explores contemporary Anglophone Cameroon poetry’s engagement with the environment through an eco-textual analysis of a cross section of poems from different poets. In this regard, the work broadens the field of ecocriticism beyond the original Anglo-American axis by developing a more locally-rooted in ecocriticism while making a valuable addition to the growing field of African ecocriticism.

It spotlights environmental degradation, the inextricable relationship between nature and culture as well as the intersection between history, politics, ethics and the environment in the Anglophone Cameroon cultural imaginary.

Focusing on the current need for the humanities to effectively respond to environmental challenges, the book foregrounds an environmental poetic vision that can be an ideal starting point for influencing and changing thought and behavioural patterns globally.

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Ever since its emergence as a new critical field in the 1990s, ecocriticism, i.e. literary and cultural criticism that studies the role and relevance of literature and other artistic works for environmental discourse, has expanded and diversified rapidly. Together with such fields as environmental history, environmental philosophy, and cultural geography, it has more recently begun to give shape to a whole new formation of academic disciplines: the environmental humanities. Responding to world-wide, and still regionally specific, environmental crisis, ecocritical studies have revealed the variety of ways in which literary texts and other works of art have participated in environmental – and environmentalist – discourses, always operating on the premise that it is indispensable to approach any study of “culture,” “society,” or “nature” from a vantage point that regards these as inextricably linked. In the course of this development, ecocriticism has become a thoroughly transnational phenomenon that allows for theoretical and methodological cross-pollination and draws attention to the variety of ecological knowledges that have over time become manifest in, for instance, rich bodies of literary texts. A transnational ecocriticism thus also encourages the discovery, or rediscovery, of literary texts that have responded to socioenvironmental crisis from the particularity of their geographical, historical, and cultural moment.

Eunice Ngongkum’s Anglophone Cameroon Poetry in the Environmental Matrix is a significant contribution to the growing field of transnational ecocriticism – and to the study of the diversity of African literatures that have engaged with a variety of environments and with environmental crisis. Drawing on...

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