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The Cambridge Introduction to Literature and the Environment


  • 18 b/w illus.
  • Page extent: 270 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.57 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 809/.933553
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: PN98.E36 C53 2011
  • LC Subject headings:
    • Ecocriticism
    • Nature in literature
    • LITERARY CRITICISM / Semiotics & Theory--bisacsh

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521896351)

The degrading environment of the planet is something that touches everyone. This 2011 book offers an introductory overview of literary and cultural criticism that concerns environmental crisis in some form. Both as a way of reading texts and as a theoretical approach to culture more generally, 'ecocriticism' is a varied and fast-changing set of practices which challenges inherited thinking and practice in the reading of literature and culture. This introduction defines what ecocriticism is, its methods, arguments and concepts, and will enable students to look at texts in a wholly new way. Boxed sections explain key critical terms and contemporary debates in the field with 'hands-on' examples and comparisons. Timothy Clark's thoughtful approach makes this an ideal first encounter with environmental readings of literature.

• Relates environmental studies to literature, showing how texts can be read with green issues in mind • Offers practical models to students for reading and writing environmental criticism and theory • Boxed sections map out the current theoretical debates in the field in an accessible way


Preface; Introduction: the challenge; Part I. Romantic and Anti-Romantic: 1. Old World Romanticism; 2. New World Romanticism; 3. Genre and the ethics of nonfiction; 4. Language beyond the human?; 5. The inherent violence of Western thought?; 6. Posthumanism and the 'end of nature'; Part II. The Boundaries of the Political: 7. Thinking like a mountain?; 8. Environmental justice and the move 'beyond nature writing'; 9. European eco-justice; 10. Liberalism and Green moralism; 11. Ecofeminism; 12. 'Postcolonial' eco-justice; 13. Questions of scale: the local, the national and the global; Part III. Science and the Struggle for Intellectual Authority: 14. Science and the crisis of authority; 15. Science studies; 16. Evolutionary theories of literature; 17. Interdisciplinarity and science: two essays on human evolution; Part IV. The Animal Mirror: 18. Ethics and the nonhuman animal; 19. Anthropomorphism; 20. The future of ecocriticism; Further reading; Index.


'The challenge Clark faces comes [from] … the assertion that literary studies can make a significant contribution to the rapidly evolving ecological debate … This challenge makes the depth and breadth of Clark's penetrating survey all the more impressive.' The Times Literary Supplement

'Clark guides the student reader to ask good, difficult questions of environmental justice, eco-postcolonial criticism, and phenomenology. I must pronounce [his] book an outstanding introduction to ecocriticism.' Greg Garrard, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment

'In this superb book, Timothy Clark has achieved what the best introductions for students achieve: brief, accurate and readable summaries of the main positions in a field, combined with a series of provocative and stimulating questions to be explored in class. Clark has done this and more - he has written a book that any ecocritic should read.' Richard Kerridge, Green Letters

'Far from a pedestrian college textbook, Clark's Introduction to Literature and the Environment is an erudite survey of ecocriticsm accessible to both scholar and student, as well as a practical tool for demonstrating literature's representation of and engagement with environmental issues of all kinds … I can think of no better intellectual map of ecocriticism's present state or future prospects than this book.' Modern Philology

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