THE ECOCRITICISM READER PDF
The ecocriticism reader: landmarks in literary ecology/. Cheryll Glotfelty, ed., Harold Fromm, ed. p. cm. Includes bibliographical references and index. mind design tricks of the mind mind reader speak your mind mind The ecocriticism reader: landmarks in literary ecology f. Cheryll Glotfelty, ed., Harold Fromm. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. The ecocriticism reader: landmarks in literary ecology f pARr oNE Ecotheory: Reflections on Nature and Culture. Cheryll Glotfelty, ed., Harold Fromm, ed.
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The Ecocriticism Reader is the first collection of its kind, an anthology of classic and cutting-edge writings in the rapidly emerging field of literary ecology. The Ecocriticism Reader. LANDMARKS IN LITERARY ECOLOGY. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm. THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA PRESS. PDF download for The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology, Cheryll Glotfelty, , Article Information. No Access. Article Information. Volume .
Putting the question more honestly, why do I find myself reading fewer contemporary novels and stories each year, and why do I so often feel that the work most celebrated by literary mavens both avant-garde and establishment is the shallowest? What is missing? Clearly there is no lack of verbal skill, nor of ingenuity in the use of forms. And there is no shortage of writers:. It is as though we had an ever-growing corps of wizards concocting weaker and weaker spells. Lawrence's essay about Thomas Hardy.
Lawrence argued that the controlling element in The Return of the Native is not the human action, but the setting where that action takes place, the wasteland of Egdon Heath: 'What is the real stuff of tragedy in the book? It is the Heath. It is the primitive, primal earth, where the instinctive life heaves up. Here is the deep, black source from whence all these little contents of lives are drawn. Against the background of dark, passionate Egdon, of the leafy, sappy passion and sentiment of the woodlands, of the unfathomed stars, is drawn the lesser scheme of lives.
One of these essays, a brief account of our experiences that appeared in the New York Times and was subsequently reprinted in other newspapers, brought me a number of interesting and varied responses from readers. A letter than particularly struck me read as follows: Dear Sir: Since all of the environmentalists who worry about pollution are also consumers of the products of these belching plants the automobile for instance by which you reach your farm , what IS the answer.
Do we cut off our nose to spite our faces? Do we destroy our economy: eliminate many necessities of life; go back to living in tents for the sake of clean air? The answers are complex. The writer was by no means insensitive to the problems of our time; she saw that a complex dilemma is involved; and she was obviously very concerned about the entire affair. Yet her expression 'for the sake of clean air' is a familiar one and reveals that the heart of the problem has not been grasped.
For when she asks, 'Do we eliminate many of the necessities of life for the sake of clean air? There is not a body in sight. She sees steps taken to preserve the environment as actions 'for the sake of' clean air. She does not see them as 'for the sake of' her own biological existence.
Somehow, she is alive: she eats food, drinks water, breathes air, but she does not see these actions as grounds of life; rather, they are acts that coincide with her life, her life being her thoughts and wishes. The purity of the elements that make her life possible is not seen as a condition of existence. Instead, the economy, the 'necessities' and not 'living in tents' are what matter.
That is life.
Landmarks in Literary Ecology
Her existence on earth somehow takes care of itself and if it does take care of itself, then why sacrifice the 'necessities' of life 'for the sake of' the superfluities, like 'clean air'?
What happened, I believe, is that we came to perceive, perhaps inchoately, our own complicity in postindustrial ecosystems, both personal and national, which are predicated on pollution and waste. Indeed, you might never know that of an earth at all. Browsing through periodicals, you would discover that rn magazine's person of1n. For instance, there no journals, no jargon, no jobs, no professional societies or discussion regroupr, and no.
Individual studies appeared in a wicle variety of places and were categoilzed under a miscellany of subject lrcadings, such as American Studies, regionalism, pastoralism, the frontier, htnnan ecology, science and literature, nature in literature, landscape in lit 'r'ilture, or the names of the authors treated.
One indication of the disunity ol the early efforts is that these critics rarely cited one another's workl r hcy didn't know that it existed. In a sense, each critic was inventing an t'rrvironmental approach to literature in isolation.
Each was a single voice lrowling in the wilderness.
The Ecocriticism Reader
As a consequence, ecocriticism did not become. Graduate students interested in. In Frederick O. Others have been responsible for special envir,,nrn 'nt:ll issues of established literary journals. In 1r1r1, llrt'tlnivcrsity of Nevada,, Reno, created the first academic position rrr I rlt'r';ltrrrc ;lrrtl rlrc lirrvirr nment. Inry93PatricI Murphy established forum to "provide d. Enuironment, from or for critical studies of the literary and performing arts Proceeding would include ecological addressing environmental.
These their depictions' the natT:. Simply put, ecocriticism is the study of the as femirelationship between literatur. Are the values expressed in this play consistent with ecological wisdom? How do our metaphors of the land influence the way we treat it? How can we characterize naturewriting as a genre? In addition to race, class, and gender, should place become a new critical category? Do men write about nature differently than women do?
In what ways has literacy itself affected humankind's relationship to the natural world? How has the concept of wilderness changed over time? In what ways and to what effect is the environmental crisis seeping into contemporary literature and popular culture? Government reports, corporate advertising, and televised nature documentaries, and to what rhetorical effect? How is science itself open to literary analysis?
Despite the broad scope of inquiry and disparate levels of sophistication, all ecological criticism shares the fundamental premise that human culture is connected to the physical world, affecting it and affected by it. Ecocriticism takes as its subject the interconnections between nature and culture, specifically the cultural artifacts of language and literature.
As a critical stance, it has one foot in literature and the other on land; as a theoretical discourse, it negotiates between the human and the nonhuman. Ecocriticism can be further characterizedby distinguishing it from other critical approaches.
Literary theory, in general, examines the relations between writers, texts, and the world. In most literary theory "the world" is synonymous with society-the social sphere. Ecocriticism expands the notion of "the world" to include the entire ecosphere. If we agree with Barry Commoner's first law of ecology, "Everything is connected to everything else," we must conclude that literature does not float above the material world in some aesthetic ether, but, rather, plays a part in an immensely complex global system, in which energy, matter, and ideas interact.
But the taxonomic name of this green branch of literary study is still being negotiated. Meeker introduced the term literary ecology to refer to "the study of biological themes and relationships which appear in literary works. By ecocriticism Rueckert meant "the application of ecology and ecological concepts to the study of literature. Many critics write environmentally conscious criticism without needing or wanting a specific name for it. Others argue that a name is important.
It was precisely because the early studies lacked a common subject heading that they were dispersed so widely, failed to build on one another, and became both difficult to access and negligible in their impact on the profession. Some scholars like the term ecocriticismbecause it is short and can easily be made into other forms llke ecocritical and ecocritic. Additionally, they favor eco- over enuiro- because, analogous to the science of ecology, ecocriticism studies relationships between things, in this case, between human culture and the physical world.
Furthermore, in its connotations, enuiro- is anthropocentric and dualistic, implying that we humans are at the center, surrounded by everything that is not us, the environment. Eco-, in contrast, implies interdependent communities, integrated systems, and strong connections among constituent parts. Ultimately, of course, usage will dictate which term or whether any term is adopted. But think of how convenient it would be to sit down at a computerized database and have a single term to enter for your subject search.
Either we change our ways or we face global catastrophe, destroying much beauty and exterminating countless fellow species in our headlong race to apocalypse. Many of us in colleges and universities worldwide find ourselves in a dilemma.
If we're not part of the solution, we,re part of the problem. How then can we contribute to environmental restoration, not just in our spare time, but from within our capacity as professors of literature? As historian Donald Worster explains, we are facing a global crisis today, not because of how ecosystems function but rather because of how our ethical sysrems function.
Getting through the crisis requires understanding our impact on nature as precisely as possible, but even more' it requires understa.
Historians, along with literary scholars, anthropologists, and philosophers, cannor do the. Anthropologists have long been interested in the connection between culture and geography. Their work on primal cultures in particular may help the rest of us not only to respect such people,s right to survive, but also to think about the varue systems ,. J these cultures live sustainably. Psychology has long ignored narure in its theories of the human mind.
In philosophy, various subfields rike environmental ethics, deep ecology, ec. Still other theologians turn to ancient Earth Goddess worship, Eastern religious traditions, and Native American teachings, belief systems that contain much wisdom about nature and spirituality. Believing that the environmental crisis has been exacerbated by our fragmented, compartmentalized, and overly specialized way of knowing the world, humanities scholars are increasingly making an effort to educate themselves in the sciences and to adopt interdisciplinary approaches.
Systems are like wet rawhide," he warned; "when they dry they strangle what they bind. Let us hereby agree that the system is not to be binding. Nonetheless, Elaine Showalter's model of the three developmental stages of feminist criticism provides a useful scheme for describing three analogous phases in ecocriticism. Analogous efforts in ecocriticism study how nature is represented in literatur.. But nature per se is not the only focus of ecocritical studies of representation.
Other ,opi. Showalter's second stage in feminist criticism, the women,s litera ry ffadition stage,likewise serves the important function of consciousness raising as it rediscovers' reissues, and reconsiders literature by women. Barry toy:r, Terry Tempest s7illiams, and many others. As evidence that nature writing is gaining ground L, th. Figures like witta irth.
Merwin, Adrienne Ri. The third stage that Showalter identifies in feminist criticism is the theoretical phase, which is far reaching and complex, drawing on a wide range of theories to raise fundamental questions about the symbolic construction of gender and sexuality within literary discourse.
Analogous work in ecocriticism includes examining the symbolic construction of species. How has literary discourse defined the human? Such a critique questions the dualisms prevalent in'Western thought, dualisms that separate meaning from matter, sever mind from body, divide men from women, and wrench humanity from nature.
A related endeavor is being carried out under the hybrid label "ecofeminism," a theoretical discourse whose theme is the link between the oppression of women and the domination of nature.
Yet another theoretical project attempts to develop an ecological poetics, taking the science of ecology, with its concept of the ecosystem and its emphasis on interconnections and energy flow, as a metaphor for the way poetry functions in society. Ecocritics are also considering the philosophy currently known as deep ecology, exploring the implications that its radical critique of anthropocentrism might have for literary study.
Consciousness raising is its most important task. For how can we solve environmental problems unless we start thinking about them? I noted above that ecocritics have aspirations to change the profession.
Perhaps I should have written that I have such aspirations for ecocriticism. I would like to see ecocriticism become a chapter of the next book that redraws the boundaries of literary studies.
I would like to see a position in every literature department for a specialist in literature and the environment. I would like to see candidates running on a green platform elected to the highest offices in our professional organizations. We have witnessed the feminist and multi-ethnic critical movements radically transform the profession, the job market, and the canon. And because they have transformed the profession, they are helping to transform the world. Students taking literature and composition will courses be encouraged to think seriously ,bo,r, the relatiorrhip of humans to nature' about the ethical and aesthetic dilemmas posed by th.
Colleges and universities of the twenty-first century will require that all students complete at least one interdiscipiinary course in environmental studies. Institutions of higher learning will one day do business on recycled-content paper-some institutions already do. In the future we can expect to see ecocritical scholarship becoming ever more interdisciplinary, multicultural, and international.
The interdisciplinary work is well underway and could be further facilitated by inviting experts from a wide range of disciplines to be guest speakers at literary conferences and by hosting more interdisciplinar conferences on environrrrental topics.
Ecocriticism has been predomin antly a white movement. This volume f. The next collection may well be an international one, for environmental problems are now global in scale and their solutions will require worldwide collaboration.
His observations may serve to remind us of the global io. Below was a i. There, contained in the thin, moving, incredibly fragile shell of the bi. Professors who are familiar with ecocriticism and its history nevertheless have had difficulty teaching the subject because until now there has been no general introductory text.
Together, the essays in this anthology provide an answer to the question, "'What is ecocriticism? These are the essays with which anyone wishing to undertake ecocritical scholarship ought to be familiar. In addition, this anthology of seminal and representative essays will facilitate teaching; no longer will professors have to rely on the dog-eared photocopies that have been circulating in the ecocritical underground, nor will they need to worry mental questions about the relationship between nature and culture and to provide a theoretical foundation upon which to build the subsequenr discussions of literary works.
The second section studies representations of nature in fiction and drama, including reflections on the ecological significance of literary modes and narrative structures, from Paleolithic hunting stories to postmodern mystery novels. The final section focuses on environmental literature in America, encompassing both Native American stories and the Thoreauvian nature-writing tradition.
This sourcebook, consisting of both reprinted and original essays, looks backward to origins and forward to trends. Many of the seminal works of ecocriticism-works of the r97os by Joseph Meeker, rilTilliam Rueckert, and Neil Evernden, for example-received little notice when first published, and have since become difficult to obtain. One of the purposes of this anthology is to make available those early gems, thereby acknowledging the roots of modern ecocriticism and giving credit where credit is due.
Another purpose of the anthology is to present exemplary recent essays, fairly general in nature, representing a wide range of contemporary eco- Section one opens with a famous essay by historian Lynn'v7hite, Jr.
Christopher Manes in "Nature and Silence" uses the theories of Michel Foucault to consider how both literacy and Christian exegesis have rendered nature silent in Western disc urse. He contends that nature has shifted from an animistic to a symbolic critical approaches. Harold Fromm in In selecting essays for this volume, then, we have sought to include not only the classics but pieces on the cutting edge.
In our coverage of theory, we have avoided essays choked with technical jargon in favor of accessible pieces written in lucid prose. In addition, we have chosen what we consider to be works of brilliance, those pieces that open doors of understanding, that switch on a light bulb in the mind, that help the reader to see the world in a new way. In our coverage of criticism, we have avoided essays that treat a single author or a single work in favor of general essays, discussing '!
In short, we sincerely believe that every selection herein is a "must read" essay. The book is divided into three sections, reflecting the three major phases of ecocritical work.
Ecotheory: Reflections on Nature and Culture "l'rom Transcendence to Obsolescence: a Route M"p" speculates on how t he Industrial Revolution affected humanity's conception of its relationslrip to nature, warning that technology has created the false illusion that wc control nature, allowing us to forget that our "unconquerable minds,, rrrc vitally dependent upon natural support systems.
In "Cultivating the American J;rrclcn," Frederick Turner directs our attention to the problem of defining nilrrrrc. Is the narural opposed to the human?
Is the natural opposed to tlrt'sociul ancl cultural? If everything is natural, then of what use is the rcnrr? In "The Uses of [,andscape: nviii. ITho marks off the agement of America's public lands; park administrators are like publishers, ,h. William Howarth's "Some Principles of Ecocriticism" traces the development of the science of ecolo gy, analyzes traditional points of hostility berween the sciences and the humanities, and anticipates the ways that ecocriticism wili help to forge a partnership between these historic enemy cultures.
After outlining a theory and history of ecocritical principles, he describes a basic library of thirty books, distilled from years of interdisciplinary reading. In "Beyond Ecology: Self, Place, and the Pathetic Fallacy" Neil Evernden argues that discoveries in ecology and cellular biology revolutionize our sense of self, teaching us that "there is no such thing as an individual, only an individual-in-context," no such thing as self, only "self-in-place. Describing a poem as stored energy, Rueckert explains that reading is an energy transfer and that critics and teachers act as mediators between poetry and the biosphere, releasing the energy and information stored in po.
The final essays of this section posit environmentalist versions of poststructuralist theory. David Mazel's "American Literary Environmentalism as Domestic Orientalism" draws uPon the theories of Jurii Lotman, Michel Foucault, and, most suggestively, Edward Said, to argue that "the construction of the environment is itself an exercise of cultural power.
Considerations of Fiction and Drama Section two opens with a meditation on narrative by novelist Ursula K. She urges that an alternative female tradition of "life" stories develop, which might look to seed gathering as its model, conveying a cyclical sense of time, describing a community of diverse individuals, and embracing an ethic of continuiry.
Meeker's pioneering work Tbe comedy of suruiual ft Speaking as both an ethologist and a scholar of comparative literature, Meeker in this book regards literary production as an important characteristic of the human species-analogous to flight in birds or radar in batsand he asserts that literature should be examined carefully and honestly to discover its influence upon human behavior and the natural environment-to determine what role, if any, it plays in the welfare and survival of mankind and what insight it offers into human relationships with other species and with the world around us.
The Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology
In the chapter reprinted here, Meeker considers the literary modes of comedy and tagedy, finding that, from an ecological standpoint, comedy promotes healthy, "survival" values, while tragedy is maladaptive. Annette Kolodny's The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in American Life and Letters t is by now a classic critique of male-authored American literature, exposing the pervasive metaphor of land-as-woman, both mother and mistress, as lying at the root of our aggressive and exploitive practices.
Sanders finds, however, that world that exists cally lcclaimed fiction lacks an awareness of the natural.. Ir, "The Postnatural Novel: novels to contemporary finds in Fiction of the rg8os" cynthia Deitering in hisshift a fundamental be limered with reierences to garbage, signaling its production to a torical consciousness, a shift from a culture defined by Necessary? In "Is Nature and Hiaasen is irniUip, maintains that the difference berween Hemingway the modernism In the difference between modernism and postmodernism' replaced is nature roots of culture lie in nature, whereas in postmodernism by commodified rePresentation' lll.
CriticalstudiesofEnvironmentalLiterature accounts of section three serves as a refreshing tonic after the pessimistic The lead essay of this postmodern literature that concluded section two' an Ecological Critisection is Glen A. Love's "Revaluing Nature: Toward ecocritical movecurrent cism," one of the most influential essays of the studies have remained indifferent to -.
Love first speculates that literary limited humanistic the enviro. He then recommends that revaluing help redirect uS from ego-consciousness to "eco-consciousness"' ihe willingness to lr.
In "The sacred perspective,,, Paula Gunn Allen characterizes some distinctive ways of perthat.. Pueblo oral narratives function to explain the world, to help people survive in it, and to transmit culture. Specific features of the landscape help people remember the stories, and the stories help them to live in the land; traveling through the storied landscape corresponds to an interior journey of awareness and imagination in which the traveler grasps his or her cultural identity.
One flourishing form of environmental literature in America is the previously undervalued genre of nature writing. Nature writing appears as an "untrampled snowfield," in the words of one scholar, simply inviting critical exploration. The remaining essays in this section provide a general introduction to the genre and represent a broad spectrum of critical approaches to it.
The Ecocriticism Reader
Lyon, a leading naturewriting scholar, describes the genre in quasi-taxonomic terms, based on the relative prominence of three important dimensions: natural history information, personal responses to nature, and philosophical interpretation of nature.
Scheese insists that although Abbey resisted the label "nature writer," he nevertheless falls squarely in the tradition of nature writing established by Thoreau and carried on by John Muir and Aldo Leopold, all of whom sought to instill a land ethic in the American public. In order to convey a sense of the tradition of women's nature writing and to explore the difference between masculine and feminine environmental ethics, Vera L.
Norwood "Heroines of Nature: Four'Women Respond to the American Landscape" reviews the work of Isabella Bird, Mary Austin, Rachel Carson, and Annie Dillard, finding that even as these women defend wild n:rture, their attitude toward it is ambivalent, part of them preferring thc safc rrrrrl thc trlr re.
Nature writers such as Annie Dillard, Edward Abbey,'Wendell Berry, and Barry Lopez go to nature in order to induce elevated states of consciousness within themselves, he suspects, and in their accounts of the phenomenon of awareness they are as much literary psychologists as they are natural historians.
The collection concludes with Michael J. McDowell's consideration of what critical approach seems most promising for an ecological analysis of landscape writing.
In "The Bakhtinian Road to Ecological Insight" McDowell argues that because the Russian philosopher and literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin incorporates much of the thinking about systems and relationships embraced by the hard sciences, his literary theories provide an ideal perspective for ecocritics: particularly Bakhtin's notions of dialogics, including the "chronotope" and the "carnivalesque.
There is no conclusion.
In order to keep this volume affordably priced and easy to use, we have resisted the temptation to include a comprehensive bibliography on literature and the environment, which would be a book in itself. Selections for the bibliography are based on responses to an electronic-mail survey of r5o ecocritics.
Reading these books will provide an excellent grounding in the field. The list of periodicals and professional organizations should help interested readers stay abreast of ecocritical scholarship and will show the lone scholar who howls in the wilderness how to become a member of 'We a growing community of scholars active in ecological literary studies. Stephen Greenblatt and Giles Gunn, eds. Waage, ed.
Feminism, Ecology and the Future of the Humanities," ed. Thomas Lyon; Hypaiia 6. Karen J. Armand E. Neila c.
Seshach ari,; praxis 4 Environments," ed. Stanley w. Lindberg and Douglas carlson Indiana Reuiew r6. Thearer and Ecology,,, ed. Una chaudl'uri;'Weber Studiesrr. Neila C. Seshachari igg r "Denatured rrnd Scott Slovic. A chapter of Meeker's seminal work i, ,. Mrrrilyrr M. Pcr irr "'l'hc tic. Hairis and Cooper use the science of ecology specifically its concepts of webs, habitat, and community as an explanatory metaphor to develop a model of human communication, but they do not explore how this human activity interacts with the physical world, and so their studies are not ecocritical as I am proposing that the term be used.
Although this book focuses on scholarship, it is through teaching that professors may ultimately make the greatest impact in the world.Nature was indeed the enemy.
For what. This Incomperahle Lande: That rs life. But no peasant owned eight oxen: Waage, Frederick O.