Humankind has always been fascinated by the world in which it finds itself, and puzzled by its relations to it. Today that fascination is often expressed in what is now called ‘green’ terms, reflecting concerns about the non-human natural world, puzzlement about how we relate to it, and anxiety about what we, as humans, are doing to it. So-called green or eco-criticism acknowledges this concern. This book reaches back and offers new readings of English texts, both known and unfamiliar, informed by eco-criticism. After considering general issues pertaining to green criticism, it moves on to a series of individual chapters arranged by theme (earth, trees, wilds, sea, gardens and fields) that provide individual close readings of selections from such familiar texts as Malory's Morte D'Arthur, Chaucer's Knight's and Franklin's Tales, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight and Langland's Piers Plowman. These discussions are contextualized by considering them alongside hitherto marginalized texts such as lyrics, Patience and the romance Sir Orfeo. The result is a study that reinvigorates our customary reading of late Middle English literary texts while also allowing us to reflect upon the vibrant new school of eco-criticism itself.
This is the first extensive study of literary swooning, homing in on the swoon’s long, rich and suggestive history as well as its potential for opening up new ways of thinking about the contemporary. From the lives of medieval saints to recent romance fiction, the swoon has had a pivotal place in English literature. This study shows that swoons have been intimately connected to explorations of emotionality, ecstasy and transformation; to depictions of sickness and of dying; and to performances of gender and gendering. A literary history of swooning is therefore also a history of crux points for how we imagine the body, and for evolving ideas of physiology, gender, and sexuality. Tracking the history of the figure of the swoon from the thirteenth to the twenty-first century, this study suggests that the swoon has long been used as a way to figure literary creation and aesthetic sensitivity: from the swoons of early mystics to contemporary literary-theoretical depictions of destabilised subjects, literary faints have offered a model of overwhelming, aesthetic, affective response. In the work of Chaucer and Shakespeare, swoons are seen as moments of generic possibility, through which the direction of a text might be transformed. In romantic, gothic and modernist fiction, this study focuses on morbid, feminised swoons used by writers who reject masculinist, heteronormative codes of health. In contemporary romance fiction, irony, cliché and bathos shadow the transformative possibilities of the swoon. This book offers an exciting new way to examine the history of the body alongside the history of literary response.
developments of eco-criticism have renewed the interest in the history of the relationship between humankind and water. Cohen and Duckert's reflexion on elemental eco-criticism, for example, which suggests thinking with the elements rather than about them, takes a fresh look at the materiality of air, water, earth and fire, and fosters new heuristic modes that could certainly be applied to the history of mineral waters.
Set beyond the scope of this book, it will certainly trigger further research on the history of
The Children’s Book, The Biographer’s Tale and Angels and Insects
Alexa Alfer and Amy J. Edwards de Campos
Byatt’s writing, both here
and elsewhere, highlights striking and unexpected similarities between
the relatively modern scientific discourses of neo-Darwinism and
eco-criticism, and the ancient narrative form of the tale. In On
Histories and Stories , Byatt suggests that the recent revival
of interest in the fairytale on the part of other contemporary writers
(such as Angela Carter and Salman
Precedents to sustainability in nineteenth-century literature and
, Martin 2000. ‘Place, Time and Eco-Criticism’, Green Letters 2: 11–12.
Schumacher, E. F. 1993 . Small is Beautiful: A Study of Economics as if
People Mattered. London: Vintage.
Soper, Kate 2011. Review of ‘Tim Morton, The Ecological Thought’, Radical Philosophy 165: 55–7.
Spitzer, Leo 1942. ‘Milieu and Ambiance: An Essay in Historical Semantics’,
Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 3 (2): 169–218.
Sustenance from the past
Sullivan, Heather I. 2011. ‘Affinity Studies and Open Systems: A Nonequilibrium,
Ecocritical Reading of Goethe’s Faust’. In
dramatically different from that of much modern eco-criticism: Wollstonecraft, Landor, and Breton (as well as Coleridge) went back to the countryside to learn not about nature’s external workings or human impact on them but about their own internal sensibilities.
For the more adventurous, Scandinavia presented opportunities for recreation and personal challenge that contemporary Britain, with its railroads and shops, no longer could. Metcalfe wrote two books about his trips to Norway, the second, on Telemark in particular (1858), because the first had been so successful