2024 : 5 : 19
Mohammad Ghaffary

Mohammad Ghaffary

Academic rank: Assistant Professor
ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4012-0093
Education: PhD.
ScopusId: 55573741900
Faculty: Literature and Languages
Address: Arak University


Meaning Not to Be Set Down: An Ecocritical Reading of the Nature / Culture Binary in R. S. Thomas’s “The Meeting
anthropocentrism, nature, culture, identity politics, self-other relation, ecocriticism, R. S. Thomas’s “The Meeting”
Researchers Mohammad Ghaffary ، Sepideh Vaez


Since the early nineteenth century, the binary opposition of culture and nature (or human and nature) has increasingly been a contentious problematic in literary criticism, among other disciplines. With the rise of Green Theory and Literature in the second half of the twentieth century, the notion of anthropocentrism, which places humans at the center of the universe and views nature as a merely passive, subordinate entity, has been challenged by numerous post-humanist writers and critics, including the Welsh poet R. S. Thomas, who in his short lyrical poem “The Meeting” (1962) effectually dramatizes the subtleties of this thorny theme through defamiliarizing the “meeting” between a farmer and his farmland. Adopting an analytical-critical method, the present qualitative, library-based study provides a novel perspective on the representation of the self-other relation or culture / nature binary opposition in this text and argues that, contrary to what is insinuated in the dominant discourse of the poem’s speaker, nature is not depicted here as a mere background scenery, but rather as an active, autonomous agent that possesses the potential for actively communicating with and even impacting upon human beings. The findings suggest that, counter to the conventional anthropocentric view, the farmer does not assume a position of superiority over nature and its elements but acknowledges and respects its presence and powers. Paving the way for deconstructing the conventions of traditional landscape writings, this study can, thus, carry significant implications for both the critical study of nature poetry and the teaching of such literary works.