Ecocriticism and Early Modern English Literature Green Pastures

by Todd Andrew Borlik

Part of the Routledge Studies in Renaissance Literature and Culture Series

Ecocriticism and Early Modern English Literature Green Pastures Synopsis

In this timely new study, Todd A. Borlik reveals the surprisingly rich potential for the emergent green criticism to yield fresh insights into early modern English literature. Deftly avoiding the anachronistic casting of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century authors as modern environmentalists, he argues that environmental issues, such as nature's personhood, deforestation, energy use, air quality, climate change, and animal sentience, are formative concerns in many early modern texts. The readings infuse a new urgency in familiar works by Shakespeare, Sidney, Spenser, Marlowe, Ralegh, Jonson, Donne, and Milton. At the same time, the book forecasts how ecocriticism will bolster the reputation of less canonical authors like Drayton, Wroth, Bruno, Gascoigne, and Cavendish. Its chapters trace provocative affinities between topics such as Pythagorean ecology and the Gaia hypothesis, Ovidian tropes and green phenomenology, the disenchantment of Nature and the Little Ice Age, and early modern pastoral poetry and modern environmental ethics. It also examines the ecological onus of Renaissance poetics, while showcasing how the Elizabethans' sense of a sophisticated interplay between nature and art can provide a precedent for ecocriticism's current understanding of the relationship between nature and culture as mutually constructive. Situating plays and poems alongside an eclectic array of secondary sources, including herbals, forestry laws, husbandry manuals, almanacs, and philosophical treatises on politics and ethics, Borlik demonstrates that Elizabethan and Jacobean authors were very much aware of, and concerned about, the impact of human beings on their natural surroundings.

Book Information

ISBN: 9780415878616
Publication date: 10th December 2010
Author: Todd Andrew Borlik
Publisher: Routledge an imprint of Taylor & Francis Ltd
Format: Hardback
Pagination: 280 pages
Categories: Literary studies: classical, early & medieval,

About Todd Andrew Borlik

Todd A. Borlik is Assistant Professor of English at Bloomsburg University, USA.

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