Writing the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Literature

The Ecological Awareness of Early Scribes of Nature

Author: Steven Petersheim

Publisher: Lexington Books


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 255

View: 995

The nineteenth-century roots of environmental writing in American literature are often mentioned in passing and sometimes studied piece by piece. Writing the Environment in Nineteenth-Century American Literature: The Ecological Awareness of Early Scribes of Nature brings together numerous explorations of environmentally-aware writing across the genres of nineteenth-century literature. Like Lawrence Buell, the authors of this collection find Thoreau’s writing a touchstone of nineteenth-century environmental writing, particularly focusing on Thoreau’s claim that humans may function as “scribes of nature.” However, these studies of Thoreau’s antecedents, contemporaries, and successors also reveal a range of other writers in the nineteenth century whose literary treatments of nature are often more environmentally attuned than most readers have noticed. The writers whose works are studied in this collection include canonical and forgotten writers, men and women, early nineteenth-century and late nineteenth-century authors, pioneers and conservationists. They drew attention to the conflicted relationships between humans and the American continent, as experienced by Native Americans and European Americans. Taken together, these essays offer a fresh perspective on the roots of environmental literature in nineteenth-century American nonfiction, fiction, and poetry as well as in multi-genre compositions such as the travel writings of Margaret Fuller. Bringing largely forgotten voices such as John Godman alongside canonical voices such as Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Walt Whitman, and Emily Dickinson, the authors whose writings are studied in this collection produced a diverse tapestry of nascent American environmental writing in the nineteenth-century. From early nineteenth-century writers such as poet Philip Freneau and novelist Charles Brockden Brown to later nineteenth-century conservationists such as John James Audubon and John Muir, Scribes of Nature shows the development of an environmental consciousness and a growing conservationist ethos in American literature. Given their often surprisingly healthy respect for the natural environment, these nineteenth-century writers offer us much to consider in an age of environmental crisis. The complexities of the supposed nature/culture divide still work into our lives today as economic and environmental issues are often seen at loggerheads when they ought to be seen as part of the same conversation of what it means to live healthy lives, and to pass on a healthy world to those who follow us in a world where human activity is becoming increasingly threatening to the health of our planet.

John Neal and Nineteenth-century American Literature and Culture

Author: Edward Watts

Publisher: Lexington Books


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 319

View: 383

John Neal and Nineteenth-Century American Literature and Culture is a critical reassessment of American novelist, editor, critic, and activist John Neal, arguing for his importance to the ongoing reassessment of the American Renaissance and the broader cultural history of the Nineteenth Century. Contributors (including scholars from the United States, Germany, England, Italy, and Israel) present Neal as an innovative literary stylist, penetrating cultural critic, pioneering regionalist, and vital participant in the business of letters in America over his sixty-year career.

Stronger, Truer, Bolder

American Children's Writing, Nature, and the Environment

Author: Karen L. Kilcup

Publisher: University of Georgia Press


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 447

View: 258

Virtually every famous nineteenth-century writer (Harriet Beecher Stowe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Ralph Waldo Emerson)— and many not so famous—wrote literature for children; many contributed regularly to children’s periodicals, and many entered the field of nature writing, responding to and forwarding the century’s huge social and cultural changes. Appreciating America’s unique natural wonders dovetailed with children’s growth as citizens, but children’s journals often exceeded a pedagogical purpose, intending also to entertain and delight. Though these volumes aimed at a relatively conservative and mostly white, middle-class, and affluent audience, some selections allowed both children and their parents room for imaginative escape from restrictive social norms. Covering a period that initially regarded children’s natural bodies as laboring resources, Stronger, Truer, Bolder traces the shifting pedagogical impulse surrounding nature and the environment through the transformations that included America’s nineteenth century emergence as an industrial power. Karen L. Kilcup shows how children’s literature mirrored those changes in various ways. In its earliest incarnations, it taught children (and their parents) facts about the natural world and about proper behavior vis-à-vis both human and nonhuman others. More significantly, as periodical writing for children advanced, this literature increasingly promoted children’s environmental agency and envisioned their potential influence on concerns ranging from animal rights and interspecies equity to conservation and environmental justice. Such understanding of and engagement with nature not only propelled children toward ethical adulthood but also formed a foundation for responsible American citizenship.

The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century American Literature

Author: Russ Castronovo

Publisher: Oxford University Press


Category: History

Page: 456

View: 957

The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century American Literature will offer a cutting-edge assessment of the period's literature, offering readers practical insights and proactive strategies for exploring novels, poems, and other literary creations.

Life Mapping as Cultural Legacy

Author: I-Chun Wang

Publisher: Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Category: Philosophy

Page: 172

View: 572

This volume celebrates a fascinating variety of nonfiction known as life writing. This genre resonates quintessentially with the core of the humanities in its profoundly individual ways of fusing narrators with their narrative subjects. The book brings together scholars from around the world to explore the personal mapping of such narrators in the context of their cultural legacies. The hybrid fusions themselves form several subgenres that complement each other as they affirm human dignity and values and our need for human connection, felt at all times, but especially during times of globally met threats. The ever-expanding forms of hybridography here—along with testimonies, diaries, letters and journals—bear witness to how individuals have contrived to overcome their own traumatic sources of pain and suffering to discover joy and how to further map their pathways forward. The narratives not only communicate important information and aesthetic beauty needed to prolong troubled lives due to social anxiety or mental illness, but also challenge sociocultural issues involving stigma, migration, racial discrimination and persecution, human trafficking, and ecological concerns. Global in scope, personal in focus, and historically and culturally contextualized, the analyses provided here once again illustrate how much we have to learn from each other.

Nineteenth-Century American Literature and the Discourse of Natural History

Author: Juliana Chow

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 239

View: 967

This book discusses how literary writers re-envisioned species survival and racial uplift through ecological and biogeographical concepts of dispersal. It will appeal to readers interested in nineteenth-Century American literature and Literature and the Environment.

Handbook of the American Novel of the Nineteenth Century

Author: Christine Gerhardt

Publisher: Walter de Gruyter GmbH & Co KG


Category: Literary Criticism

Page: 584

View: 607

This handbook offers students and researchers a compact introduction to the nineteenth-century American novel in the light of current debates, theoretical concepts, and critical methodologies. The volume turns to the nineteenth century as a formative era in American literary history, a time that saw both the rise of the novel as a genre, and the emergence of an independent, confident American culture. A broad range of concise essays by European and American scholars demonstrates how some of America‘s most well-known and influential novels responded to and participated in the radical transformations that characterized American culture between the early republic and the age of imperial expansion. Part I consists of 7 systematic essays on key historical and critical frameworks ― including debates aboutrace and citizenship, transnationalism, environmentalism and print culture, as well as sentimentalism, romance and the gothic, realism and naturalism. Part II provides 22 essays on individual novels, each combining an introduction to relevant cultural contexts with a fresh close reading and the discussion of critical perspectives shaped by literary and cultural theory.

Men, Masculinities, and Earth

Contending with the (m)Anthropocene

Author: Paul M. Pulé

Publisher: Springer Nature


Category: Political Science

Page: 648

View: 758

This book considers issues of social and ecological significance through a masculinities lens. Earth – our home for aeons – is reeling. The atmosphere is heating up, causing reefs to bleach, fisheries to collapse, regions to flood and dry, vast tracts to burn, the polar ice caps to melt, ancient glaciers to retreat, biodiversity to decline exacerbated by the sixth great extinction, and more. Meanwhile, social and economic disparities are widening. Pandemics are cauterising glocal communities and altering our social mores. Nationalism is feeding divisiveness and hate, especially through men’s violence. Politically extreme individuals and groups are exalting freedom while scapegoating the marginalised. Such are the symptoms of an emerging (m)Anthropocene. This anthology contends with these alarming trends, pointing our attention towards their gendered origins. Building on our monograph Ecological Masculinities: Theoretical Foundations and Practical Guidance (2018), this collection of essays is framed as a dinner party conversation grouped into six discursive themes. Their views reflect a growing community of practice, whose combined efforts capture the most recent perspectives on masculine ecologisation. Together, they aim to help create a more caring world for all, moving the ecological masculinities conversation forward as it becomes an established, international, and pluralised field of study.