“Blossoming” Under a Glass: Interpreting the Sensory Depiction of Elizabeth Bishop’s “Poetic Map” from the Humanist-geographical Perspective
Keywords:Elizabeth Bishop; Senses; Literary Map; Humanist Geography; Man-environment Relationship.
Elizabeth Bishop (1911-1979) is arguably one of the most outstanding American poets in the 20th century, with a fetish about maps and landscapes as her as poetica. In her literary mapping of the poetic landscapes, a clever operation of human sensorium is notable. To examine the specific roles senses, play in the construction of Bishop’s “poetic map”, this article analyzes the depiction of three couples of senses—sight and hearing, movement and touch, smell and taste—in six of Elizabeth Bishop’s representative poems under the framework of Yi-fu Tuan’s humanist geography. By interpreting in the three main sections the metaphorical relationships between maps and different senses, it penetrates into the natural, spatial, and humanistic attributes of Bishop’s “poetic map”, and finds out that while feeling about geographic scenery with her outer senses, Bishop contemplates in her inner sensation in a humanistic way, and keeps questioning human being’s meaning in the environment. Based on these analyses, this paper adds a sensory perspective into the spatial/geographical study on Elizabeth Bishop, and tries to respond to the topic of man-environment relationship in the nature writing in contemporary literature.
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