A Century of Early Ecocriticism

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In the 1970s the relationship between literature and the environment emerged as a topic of serious and widespread interest among writers and scholars. The ideas, debates, and texts that grew out of this period subsequently converged and consolidated into the field now known as ecocriticism.

A Century of Early Ecocriticism looks behind these recent developments to a prior generation's ecocritical inclinations. Written between 1864 and 1964, these thirty-four selections include scholars writing about the “green” aspects of literature as well as nature writers reflecting on the genre.

In his introduction, David Mazel argues that these early “ecocritics” played a crucial role in both the development of environmentalism and the academic study of American literature and culture. Filled with provocative, still timely ideas, A Century of Early Ecocriticism demonstrates that our concern with the natural world has long informed our approach to literature.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"David Mazel effectively challenges the impression that ecocritical approaches are of recent vintage, and succeeds admirably in his attempt to provide a 'usable past' for practicing ecocritics."--Michael P. Branch, Mississippi Quarterly

"Mazel brings together influential scholars and nature writers from 1864 to 1964 whose ideas led to the now burgeoning academic field of ecocriticism. Mazel supplements these essays, written by authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Mary Woolley and Mark Van Doren, with informative and entertaining biographical information. With questions ranging from 'What does the wilderness have to teach us?' to 'How did animal stories help pave the way for animal rights?' this book clarifies humanity's constantly evolving relationship with nature."--E: The Environmental Magazine

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780820322216
  • Publisher: University of Georgia Press
  • Publication date: 1/24/2001
  • Pages: 376
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

David Mazel is an assistant professor of English at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado. His books include American Literary Environmentalism, A Century of Early Ecocriticism (both Georgia), and Mountaineering Women.
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Table of Contents

Henry Tuckerman on John and William Bartram (1864)
James Russell Lowell on Henry Thoreau (1865)
John Burroughs on Walt Whitman, Gilbert White, and Henry Thoreau (1867, 1902, and 1919)
William Benjamin Carpenter on Science's Representation of Nature (1872)
Alfred Austin on the Poetic Interpretation of Nature (1877)
Richard Jefferies on the Shortcomings of Language (1887)
Hamilton Wright Mabie on Hebrew Poetry, John Burroughs, and Nature's Record in Language (1891 and 1897)
Selden Whitcomb on Nature in Early American Literature (1893)
Mary Woolley on the Love of Romantic Scenery in America (1897)
Exchanges from the "Nature Faker" Controversy (10921907)
Charles G. D. Roberts on the Evolution of the Animal Story (1902)
Mabel Osgood Wright on Nature, Gender, Outdoor Life, and Fiction (1903 and 1905)
Fannie Eckstorm on Thoreau's The Maine Woods (1908)
Havelock Ellis on the Psychological Roots of the Love of Wilderness (1909)
Dallas Lore Sharp on Sincerity in Nature Writing (1911)
Norman Foerster on Nature Cultists and American Literature (1912 and 1923)
Aldo Leopold on Forestry and the Hebrew Bible (1920)
D. H. Lawrence on Hector St. Jean de Crevecoeur (1923)
Lewis Mumford on Thoreau, Nature, and Society (1926)
Henry Chester Tracy on Women Nature Writers (1930)
Mary Hunter Austin on Literature and the Regional Environment (1932)
Mark Van Doren on Donald Culross Peattie (1937)
Donald Culross Peattie on Thoreau, Science, and Nature (1938)
F. O. Matthiessen on the Organic Style of Emerson and Thoreau (1941)
D. S. Savage on Nature and Immediacy in Poetry (1942)
Joseph Wood Krutch on the Intellectual History of Nature Writing (1950)
Perry Miller on Nature and American Nationalism (1955)
Sherman Paul on Thoreau, The Maine Woods, and the Problem of Ktaadn (1958)
Leo Marx on the Pastoral in American Literature (1964)
Sources of Selections
Annotated Bibliography of Early Ecocriticism
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