In Ecocritical Explorations, Patrick D. Murphy explores environmental literature and environmental cultural issues through both theoretical and applied criticism. He engages with the concepts of referentiality, simplicity, the nation state, and virtual reality in the first section of the book, and then goes on to interrogate these issues in contemporary environmental literature, both American and international. He concludes his argument with a discussion of the larger frames of family dynamics and un-natural disasters, such as hurricanes and global warming, ending with a chapter on the integration of scholarship and pedagogy in the classroom, with reference to his own teaching experiences. Murphy's study provides a wide ranging discussion of contemporary literature and cultural phenomena through the lens of ecological literary criticism, giving attention to both theoretical issues and applied critiques. In particular, he looks at popular literary genres, such as mystery and science fiction, as well as actual disasters and disaster scenarios. Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies is a timely contribution to ecological literary criticism and an insightful look into how we represent our relationship with the environment.
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About the Author
Patrick D. Murphy is professor of English at the University of Central Florida.
Table of Contents
Chapter 1 Introduction Part 2 Climbing Through Conceptual Fences Chapter 3 The Complexity of Simplicity Chapter 4 Difference and Responsibility in Literary Alternatives to Nation State Chapter 5 Paradise or a Pair of Dice: Contradictions and Contingencies in Real and Virtual Terrains for Tomorrow's College Students Chapter 6 Toward Transnational Ecocritical Theory: The Example of Hwa Yol Jung Part 7 Surveying the Boundaries of Genre Chapter 8 Nature in the Contemporary American Novel Chapter 9 The Non-alibi of Alien Scapes: SF and Ecocriticism Chapter 10 The Non-alibi of Pragmatic Utopianism and Wild Variability; or, Optimistic Variations on a Science Fiction Theme Chapter 11 Mysteries of Nature and Environmental Justice Part 12 Culturally Crossing the Field Chapter 13 Nature Nurturing Fathers in a World beyond our Control Chapter 14 Scenarios of Disaster: Crying Wolf, Scaring away the Elephants, and Heading 'Em off at the Pass Chapter 15 Hurricanes and Hubris Chapter 16 Ranging Widely to Find Home
What People are Saying About This
Theoretically sophisticated yet refreshingly readable, this wide-ranging study of contemporary, mainly genre-based fiction (sci-fi, mystery, crime, pseudo-documentary) makes an important addition to previous writing on the contribution of literature to environmental education. Murphy's sympathetic but critical evaluation of the literary treatment of the simple life, urban development, nanotechnology, hurricanes, and other less predictable themes such as father-daughter relationships, not least in young adult fiction, is as innovative as his arguments for the potential of simulated and mediated experience to enhance environmental awareness and his advocacy of an allonational approach, replacing the nation state with smaller and larger units sharing vital environmental interests. The revelation of sometimes surprising subtleties and complexities will make encouraging and stimulating reading for all teachers of environmental literature. Murphy's book is a thoughtfully constructive engagement with the sobering critique of contemporary arrogance and the inspiring glimpses of alternatives present in contemporary American nature-oriented writing.
This book is truly international in scope and substantively addresses a number of the major concerns facing ecocriticism today: the role of language and other representations (including virtual reality) in mediating our relationships with the world around us; the potential of popular literature (especially SF) to promote environmentally responsible thinking and behavior; the ways literary and cultural critics can productively respond to natural disasters and the other material effects of environmental degradation; and the importance of rethinking our pedagogical practices as well as our texts when we teach environmentally-themed courses. By interweaving his own experiences as a father, teacher, and resident of Florida into his literary and cultural analyses, Murphy also bridges the divide between the personal and the critical and brings added relevance to the issues he discusses.As I read this book, my mind was racing with the implications for my own work and teaching. I came away with a treasure-trove of exciting books to read, a new insight into the reading practices of my students, and a renewed appreciation for the power of a theoretically-informed yet personally grounded ecocriticism to illuminate not only the environmental themes of literature but also to connect that literature to our physical environment in powerful and compelling ways.
No ecocritic is better or more widely read than Patrick Murphy. The chapters are a pleasure to read because one has a sense of being guided through literature that should always be on one's radar. The analysis is satisfying and deeply thoughtful, but best of all, this analysis is done with a wonderful sense of irony and humor.... This book will take its place among the most important publications in the field of environmental literary studies.