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The Hitchhiker's Guide to Ecocriticism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 October 2020


The first few frames of the Belgian comic-strip artist Raymond Macherot's work “Les Croquillards” (1957) provide a shorthand for some of the issues that concern environmentally oriented criticism, one of the most recent fields of research to have emerged from the rapidly diversifying matrix of literary and cultural studies in the 1990s. A heron is prompted to a lyrical reflection on the change of seasons by a leaf that gently floats down to the surface of his pond (see the next p.): “Ah! the poetry of autumn … dying leaves, wind, departing birds…” This last thought jolts him back to reality: “But—I'm a migratory bird myself! … Good grief! What've I been thinking?” And off he takes on his voyage south, only to be hailed by the protagonists, the field rats Chlorophylle and Minimum (the latter under the spell of a bad cold), who hitch a ride to Africa with him. “Are you traveling on business?” he asks his newfound passengers. “No, for our health,” they answer.

The Changing Profession
Copyright © Modern Language Association of America, 2006

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