Environment and identity: Douglas Livingstone's A Littoral Zone

Brown, Duncan (2002). Environment and identity: Douglas Livingstone's A Littoral Zone. Critical Arts: A South-North Journal of Cultural & Media Studies, 16(2) pp. 94–116.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/02560240285310151

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In this article I argue that in A Littoral Zone Livingstone undertakes a remarkable project of mapping his identity and work - as poet, scientist, human being - onto the landscape in which he lived, worked and moved: that he claims belonging - in terms of myth, DNA linkages, history, biology, relationships, literature - while acknowledging estrangement - through personal loss, pollution, greed, rejection, despoliation, history, loneliness, death. The volume explores these issues in ways which are at once locally specific and broadly global: the particular place is made to resonate with wider, and profounder, implications. This does not mean that there are not also problematic aspects to the mapping of identity onto place, and towards the end I consider some of these, including Livingstone's evocation of his relationships with black writing in South Africa.

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