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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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The birth of ecocriticism more than three decades ago (Johnson 2009), and the initial circumscribing of the field by scholars like Cheryll Glotfelty, Harold Fromm, Glen A. Love and Lawrence Buell, has led to its burgeoning from the perspective of literary study. Today, ecocriticism has established itself as a major force in the ever-growing academic discussions around environmental issues. Scholarly work, exploring an ever-expanding diversity of literary and cultural texts and practices, currently exists. These critical positions, on the “literature of all periods and places” (Johnson 2009), have brought a refreshing perspective to literary studies with regard to reading, teaching and learning about literature. Unfortunately, the ascendancy of ecocriticism in the theoretical landscape in recent times is evident mostly in groundbreaking work on English and American literature. Yet, the looming global environmental crisis (Heise 2006) demands a rethinking of the place of literature and literary criticism in today’s complex global world; a rethinking that must take into consideration literatures and cultural practices from every part of the globe.

While different reasons have been advanced for the near absence of ecocritical research on ‘other’ literatures such as those of Africa until recently (see Slaymaker 2001, Nixon 2005, Huggan & Tiffin 2007), suffice it to say that work on such literatures is slowly but steadily growing (see Vital 2008, Caminero-Santangelo & Myers 2011, Okuyade 2013, Caminero-Santangelo 2014), even though much of it is still focused on canonical texts and narratives. The reasons for this growth can be found...

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