William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship: The Roots of Environmentalism in Nineteenth-Century Culture

Overview

In William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship,
Scott Hess explores Wordsworth?s defining role in establishing what he designates as "the ecology of authorship": a primarily middle-class,
nineteenth-century conception of nature associated with aesthetics, high culture, individualism, and nation. Instead of viewing Wordsworth as an early ecologist, Hess places him within a context that is largely cultural ...

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William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship: The Roots of Environmentalism in Nineteenth-Century Culture

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Overview

In William Wordsworth and the Ecology of Authorship,
Scott Hess explores Wordsworth’s defining role in establishing what he designates as "the ecology of authorship": a primarily middle-class,
nineteenth-century conception of nature associated with aesthetics, high culture, individualism, and nation. Instead of viewing Wordsworth as an early ecologist, Hess places him within a context that is largely cultural and aesthetic.
The supposedly universal Wordsworthian vision of nature, Hess argues, was in this sense specifically male, middle-class, professional, and culturally elite—factors that continue to shape the environmental movement today.

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Editorial Reviews

Lawrence Buell
This book provides the most searching, historically informed assessment to date of William Wordsworth's motives and commitments as laureate, resident, guide, and defender of England's Lake Country, and in the process offers a stringent critique of the limits of Wordsworthian ‘ecology of authorship’ as a model for latter-day environmental(ist) imagination and practice.
Ashton Nichols
Scott Hess has written a valuable book that reveals the limits of Romantic ecocriticism by explaining the danger of applying contemporary standards of environmentalism to an author like Wordsworth. Hess reveals that the apparent ecocentrism of many Romantic authors is based on aesthetic and cultural standards of their own era, not on our current land-ethic or an Audubon Society activism.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813932309
  • Publisher: University of Virginia Press
  • Publication date: 4/5/2012
  • Series: Under the Sign of Nature Series
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Scott Hess, Associate Professor of English at Earlham College, is the author of Authoring the Self: Self-Representation, Authorship, and the Print Market in British Poetry from Pope through Wordsworth.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

1 Picturesque Vision, Photographic Subjectivity, and the (Un)framing of Nature 21

2 Wordsworth Country: The Lake District and the Landscape of Genius 68

3 Wordsworth's Environmental Protest: The Kendal and Windermere Railroad and the Cultural Politics of Nature 116

4 The Lake District and the Museum of Nature 156

5 "My Endless Way": Travel, Gender, and the Imaginative Colonization of Nature 187

Epilogue: The Ecology of Authorship versus the Ecology of Community 223

Notes 237

Bibliography 263

Index 283

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