• Marie Goul-Nielsen
4. semester, Dansk (cand.mag.), Kandidat (Kandidatuddannelse)
The present master’s thesis is about the late Danish dramatist and author Kaj Munk and his views upon nature. I have found that his relations to the West-jutlandic nature are of an existential matter, and that he has a deep connection to the agricultural lifestyle.
The master’s thesis falls in three sections, where the first revolves around the literary theory ‘ecocriticism’, which focuses on how nature is represented in literature. One of the primary ecocritical purposes is to put an end to the constructivist idea that nature is only worth what humans ascribes it. Instead they plea that nature has an inherent significance, that makes men’s opinions about it meaningless – e.g. if all humans died at this insistence, nature would still dominate the world even though we were not there to assess it. Furthermore ecocriticism aims to reduce the gap between natural sciences and the humanities, so the literary theory has a practical aspect that aspires to change the mindset and behaviour of its followers.
However ecocriticism is a wide range theory with many different branches, and one them centres around Martin Heidegger’s philosophical approach to being in the world. Ecocritics claim that Heidegger with his original ideas approaches some of the key ideas of ecocriticism. David. E. Cooper highlights three main areas within Heidegger’s theories with inherent ecocritical qualities: ontology, scientific methodology, and critique of technology. By connecting basic ecocriticism with the existential thoughts of Heidegger, it has been possible to pinpoint how Munk’s representations of nature are distinctive and profound.
In the middle section of the master’s thesis I implement the preceding theory in analyses of four of Munk’s text, which all include unique representations of nature. The analyses of Havet og Menneskene, “August”, “Johan fra æ Havbjerge” and “Træet paa Digevolden” all prove that Munk linked nature with culture, and emphasised the importance of including both in every day life. By adding Heidegger’s existential focus on being, I furthermore found that Munk praised the rural communities, that knew the importance of living fully and in tune with nature – they were the ones who fully grasped their being in the world.
In the last part of the master’s thesis I discuss and conclude on my findings. The thesis has shown, that there are some problems with ecocritism since it might be so wide a category that it includes too many different texts. Additionally you could argue that many of the ecocritical ideas have already been touched upon in other literary theories. However in this specific context and with the inclusion of Heidegger it has been very rewarding to make an ecocritical reading of Munk’s texts, because nature remained the constant focus point but with an existential side aspect. Furthermore I can conclude that Heidegger and Munk for some part had the same outlook on nature and life despite of their very different ways of communication. Both Heidegger and Munk appreciated nature greatly, and argued that farmers were the only ones who truly recognized the importance of a respectful balance between nature and man. The analysis clearly showed that nature sometimes overruled human entirely, but they also showed how nature sometimes needed human nurturing. This interplay is what both Heidegger and Munk wanted to present for their readers, since a reflected and authentic being in the world, both requires a grasp of the natural and cultural world.
Udgivelsesdato1 jul. 2016
ID: 234150204