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Literature and Nature in the English Renaissance
An Ecocritical Anthology


  • Date Published: March 2021
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781316649534

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About the Authors
  • Featuring over two hundred nature-themed texts spanning the disciplines of literature, science and history, this sourcebook offers an accessible field guide to the environment of Renaissance England, revealing a nation at a crossroads between its pastoral heritage and industrialized future. Carefully selected primary sources, each modernized and prefaced with an introduction, survey an encyclopaedic array of topographies, species, and topics: from astrology to zoology, bear-baiting to bee-keeping, coal-mining to tree-planting, fen-draining to sheep-whispering. The familiar voices of Spenser, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marvell mingle with a diverse chorus of farmers, herbalists, shepherds, hunters, foresters, philosophers, sailors, sky-watchers, and duchesses - as well as ventriloquized beasts, trees, and rivers. Lavishly illustrated, the anthology is supported by a lucid introduction that outlines and intervenes in key debates in Renaissance ecocriticism, a reflective essay on ecocritical editing, a bibliography of further reading, and a timeline of environmental history and legislation drawing on extensive archival research.

    • Compendium of over two hundred primary sources that demonstrates the broad range of environmental representations in English renaissance literature
    • Provides fresh perspectives on the environmental issues of early modern England, such as population growth and proto-industrialisation
    • Supported by a range of editorial apparatus including introductions to each text, guides to further reading, glossaries and chronologies of environmental events and literature
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    Reviews & endorsements

    'A beautifully scholarly compendium … Nothing I've read in this year of climate catastrophe made me think more.' Daniel Swift, The Spectator

    'Borlick's anthology is beautifully crafted, celebrates the wonders of nature, and warns of the dire consequences of the mistreatment of the natural world.' Rachel White, The British Society for Literature and Science

    '… illustrates the rich diversity and complexity of English Renaissance thinking about the interrelationship between nature and humanity.' B. E. Brandt, Choice

    '… a timely scholarly tool that will be indispensable to any new research on nature in early modern English writing.' Goran Stanivukovic, Renaissance et Réforme

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    Product details

    • Date Published: March 2021
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781316649534
    • length: 624 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 32 mm
    • weight: 0.826kg
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    Part I. Cosmologies: Section 1. Creation and the State of Nature
    Section 2. Natural Theologies
    Part II. The Tangled Chain
    Section 1. Hierarchy and the Human Animal
    Section 2. Beasts
    Section 3. Birds
    Section 4. Fish
    Section 5. Insects
    Section 6. Plants
    Section 7. Gems, Metals, Elements, Atoms
    Part III. Time and Place
    Section 1. Seasons
    Section 2. Country Houses
    Section 3. Gardens
    Section 4. Pastoral: Pastures, Meadows, Plains
    Sections 5. Georgic: Fields, Farms
    Section 6. Forests, Woods, Parks
    Section 7. Heaths, Moors
    Section 8. Mountains, Hills, Vales
    Section 9. Lakes, Rivers, Oceans
    Part IV. Interactions
    Section 1. Animal- Baiting
    Section 2. Hunting, Hawking
    Section 3. Fishing
    Section 4. Pet-Keeping
    Section 5. Cooking, Feasting, Fasting, Healing
    Part V. Environmental Problems in Early Modern England
    Section 1. Population
    Section 2. Enclosure
    Section 3. Deforestation
    Section 4. The Draining of the Fens
    Section 5. Pollution
    Part VI. Disaster and Resilience in the Little Ice Age
    Section 1. Extreme Weather, Disorder, Dearth
    Section 2. Decay
    Section 3. Resilience.

  • Editor

    Todd Andrew Borlik, University of Huddersfield
    Todd Andrew Borlik is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at the University of Huddersfield and the author of Ecocriticism and Early Modern English Literature (2011).

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