If one hopes to fully grasp the contents, the best approach is slow reading and rereading with Wikipedia close at hand. It is a critical review of the literature, including film, poetry, philosophy, et. It starts by providing a brief account of the various political and philosophical orientations within the broad spectrum of environmentalism. For example, the first perspective is "cornucopia"; cornucopians claim that human welfare increases with population, economic growth and technological progress. As natural resources become scarce, entrepreneurs find substitutes or create efficiencies that ameliorate the issue. The other orientations are: environmentalism, deep ecology, ecofeminism, social ecology, ecomarxism, and Heideggerian ecophilosophy.
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Ecocriticism expanded as a widely used literary and cultural theory by the early s with the formation of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment ASLE at the Western Literary Association , followed by the launch of the flagship journal ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment cited under Journals in , and then later the publication of The Ecocriticism Reader Glotfelty and Fromm , cited under Collections of Essays.
Ecocriticism is often used as a catchall term for any aspect of the humanities e. This is not to say that ecocriticism is confined to literature and culture; scholarship often incorporates science, ethics, politics, philosophy, economics, and aesthetics across institutional and national boundaries Clark , p. Ecocriticism remains difficult to define.
Originally, scholars wanted to employ a literary analysis rooted in a culture of ecological thinking, which would also contain moral and social commitments to activism. There are currently hundreds of books and thousands of articles and chapters written about ecocriticism.
General Overviews This section looks at some of the pioneering work in ecocriticism, as well as some of the most read work introducing the subject. Meeker , presenting comedy and tragedy as ecological concepts, connects literary and environmental studies as a cohesive field of study. Love builds on the work of Meeker and Rueckert by essentially anticipating the explosion of and need for ecocriticism in just a few years.
Ecocriticism as a literary and cultural theory significantly expanded in the s—paralleling other forms of literary and cultural theory, such as postcolonialism and critical race studies—largely due to the publication of Glotfelty and Fromm cited under Collections of Essays , the first edited collection of essays and anthology to introduce a comprehensive critical outline of ecocriticism. Buell , another critically dense and timely study, outlines the trajectory of American ecocriticism by way of Henry David Thoreau as a central figure.
Kerridge and Sammells cited under Collections of Essays , which expanded studies in race and class, as well as ecocritical history, followed both Glotfelty and Fromm and Buell Garrard is the most recent overview volume, with many noteworthy ecocritical scholars; it serves as a somewhat updated version of Glotfelty and Fromm See also Anthologies and Collections of Essays for some other notable overviews.
Buell, Lawrence. See also Nature Writing. Clark, Timothy. The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment. It offers an excellent range of topics, and despite serving as an introduction, it employs incisive analysis of previously overlooked issues in introductory books on ecocriticism, such as posthumanism, violence, and animal studies. It is one of the best contemporary overviews.
Garrard, Greg. New York: Routledge, It is available as an inexpensive paperback. Originally published in Garrard, Greg, ed. The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism. New York: Oxford University Press, It is an essential work for ecocritics. Love, Glen. Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, — Meeker, Joseph. It spans many centuries—looking at Dante, Shakespeare, and Petrarch, as well as E.
Wilson—and analyzes comedy and tragedy as two literary forms that reflect forces greater than that of humans. Phillips, Dana. Oxford: Oxford University Press, DOI: Rueckert, William.
Most of this book is an engagement with environmental politics, which Garrard handles well enough. Therefore, we get a reviewer praising it for simply affirming his distates for some brand of environmental politics, rather than for better articulating the field of literary criticism through an ecological lens. The New Critical Idiom books are often oddball constructs. They tend to be written by theorizers and cultural critics whose issue orientation causes them to skip over the basic tenets of a discipline and riff on the fringes.
Ecocriticism (The New Critical Idiom)