William Welstead
Search for other papers by William Welstead in
Current site
Google Scholar
Abstract only
Log-in for full text

The introduction describes the rationale for a critical study of sheep in contemporary poetry as a means to redress the relative lack of poems ‘about the beasts themselves’, when compared with both literary and critical output on pastoralism. This lack of writing about sheep is mirrored in the experience of agricultural historians where text, literally written on sheep in ancient parchments, was of less interest to a historian than the wool fibres on the parchment that he could see under the microscope. The chapter makes the case for revisiting the ecological basis for ecocriticism by considering the distinction between the population ecology of a single species and community ecology of an assemblage of interdependent species. How do these separate approaches to ecology map onto the difference between poems about sheep and those in the pastoral mode? Have ecocritics, in their haste to explain the etymology of the word ‘ecology’ as about ‘home’ or ‘place’, made poems about a single species, which is domesticated and not wild, more difficult to consider critically? Does the animal turn in the humanities raise issues for the critical study of poems about sheep?

  • Collapse
  • Expand

All of MUP's digital content including Open Access books and journals is now available on manchesterhive.


Writing on sheep

Ecology, the animal turn and sheep in poetry


All Time Past Year Past 30 Days
Abstract Views 68 26 1
Full Text Views 5 1 0
PDF Downloads 3 2 0