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Environmental Philosophy

A Revaluation of Cosmopolitan Ethics from an Ecocentric Standpoint

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Hugh P. McDonald

Environmental Philosophy: A Revaluation of Cosmopolitan Ethics from an Ecocentric Standpoint calls for a new approach to ethics. Starting from the necessity for all life of air, water, and food, the book revalues the relation of ethics and environmentalism. Using insights of the environmental ethicists, environmental ethics becomes the model for ethics as a whole. Humans are part of a larger environment. Cosmopolitanism should be revised in accord with environmental ethics.
The book applies a new theory of values to the relation of value and obligation, and of duty, rights and virtue, to accord with ecocentrism. The book also critically evaluates Utilitarianism and the self interest theory. Other chapters address population, species preservation and a practical program for environmental policy.
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Edited by Ingo Berensmeyer and Christoph Ehland

Literature as cultural discourse has always courted mobility. From the nomadic wanderings of the heroes of Homer and Virgil through the adventures of the medieval knight-errants to the travellers of modern times, movement and mobility have been constitutive elements of story-telling. Since writers have begun to explore the experiential dimension of movement their texts have embraced the essential changeability and instability of ‘mobile worlds’. In this sense literature reflects and processes the transformative force of movement on the perception of the world and is part of the broader cultural discourses of mobility.
From the 1936 film Night Mail to the rapid movements of the dime novel detective and the metaphorical coding of automobility in Futurist poetry, the essays in this volume offer new perspectives on the phenomenon of mobility at the intersection between the literary imagination and cultural experience. They explore movement as a decisive force of change in the history of modernity and show how literature in its representation of mobility simultaneously aims both to mirror and to grasp the phenomenon.
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Plants and Literature

Essays in Critical Plant Studies

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Edited by Randy Laist

Myth, art, literature, film, and other discourses are replete with depictions of evil plants, salvific plants, and human-plant hybrids. In various ways, these representations intersect with “deep-rooted” insecurities about the place of human beings in the natural world, the relative viability of animalian motility and heterotrophy as evolutionary strategies, as well as the identity of organic life as such. Plants surprise us by combining the appearance of harmlessness and familiarity with an underlying strangeness. The otherness of vegetal life poses a challenge to our ethical, philosophical, and existential categories and tests the limits of human empathy and imagination. At the same time, the resilience of plants, their adaptability, and their integration with their habitat are a perennial source of inspiration and wisdom. Plants and Literature: Essays in Critical Plant Studies examines the manner in which literary texts and other cultural products express our multifaceted relationship with the vegetable kingdom. The range of perspectives brought to bear on the subject of plant life by the various authors and critics represented in this volume comprise a novel vision of ecological interdependence and stimulate a revitalized sensitivity to the relationships we share with our photosynthetic brethren.
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Etienne Terblanche

By employing the modernist devices of fragmentation, recombination, and accentuated blank space, E. E. Cummings engages singularly with being on earth. This ecological achievement was largely ignored by the New Critics, and the subsequent semiotic spirit which has been holding that the sign hardly has to do with concrete existence on earth ironically perpetuated the neglect. In this book Etienne Terblanche shows that Cummings’s ecology relocates his oeuvre and status in contemporary discourse. For, the poet follows, mimes, and connects with the unfolding changes of earthly existence and growth—what he views as the ‘Tao’ of being—in his lyricism, sex poems, satire, and visual-verbal poems. This is true especially of the elusive manner or ‘how’ of his poetry overall. Careful ecocritical reading of this active culture-nature integrity in his poetry brings about an imperative new understanding and placement of his project. It further serves to show that, in their different ways, T. S. Eliot and Ezra Pound engage with nature in a similar way, thus again accentuating the importance of Cummings’s poetic project to the neglected and vital ecocritical perception of modernism in poetry.
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Land & Identity

Theory, Memory, and Practice

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Edited by Christine Berberich, Neil Campbell and Robert Hudson

This collection of essays aims to investigate the complex issues surrounding contemporary cultural discourses on land and identity – their production, construction, and reconstruction across a range of different texts and materials. The chapters offer disciplinary and trans-disciplinary approaches opening up discussion and new routes for research in a number of interrelated areas such as Countryside vs. City, Diaspora, Landscapes of Memory and Trauma, Migrational Spaces, and Ecology. They represent a number of innovative contemporary responses to how concepts of land intersect and dialogue with notions of identity across and between regions, nations, races, and cultures. Through employing interdisciplinary methods and theories drawn from diverse sources, such as cultural studies, spatial theory, philosophy and literary theory, the chapters chart varied and complex themes of identity formation in relation to spatiality.
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Topodynamics of Arrival

Essays on Self and Pilgrimage

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Edited by Gert Hofmann and Snježana Zorić

Travelling is the art of motion, motion results in moments of human encountering, and such moments manifest themselves in unsettling linguistic repercussions and crises of meaning. Places of arrival also function as inscriptions of such meaningful repercussions, inscriptions of the past crossing the present, of the other crossing the self. The contributions in this book explore places, rituals, texts and scriptures as religious or secular inscriptions – “topographies” – of such “arrivals.”
Each arrival happens, and its very place manifests itself only as a momentous component of the process itself. Arrival is an event of conclusion as well as of urgency for subsequent explorations of new meanings to be read from the topography of the place, mirroring thus a signifying dynamic for the metamorphosis of the traveller’s self: “ topodynamic” of arrival. In this vein this book investigates for the first time the dynamic of cultural formations of space, an aspect of spatiality which since the “spatial turn” in cultural discourse has mostly been neglected.
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No Maps for These Territories

Cities, Spaces, and Archaeologies of the Future in William Gibson

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Karin Hoepker

No Maps for These Territories offers an archaeology of seemingly tried and trusted concepts: cartography, architecture, urban space. While rethinking Michel Foucault’s theories, Karin Hoepker reconstructs the cartographic dispositives of spatial order. The futuristic fictional cityscapes of science fiction writer William Gibson are the touchstone for this epistemological analysis and typology of spatial formations. In seven probing chapters that focus on architectural blueprints, forms of inhabitation, Wunderkammern, and economic formations of retail, consumption, and entertainment such as shopping malls, amusement parks, and gambling meccas, Hoepker investigates a set of exemplary phenomena crucial to the fields of architecture, geography, philosophy, cartography, history of science, literary studies, and the arts. No Maps for These Territories thus offers close readings of fictional, philosophical, and theoretical texts, and examines instructive examples of the workings of spatial production. In a form of contrastive writing, the monograph sheds critical light on theoretical and fictional texts equally.
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Edited by Pascale Guibert

Too many landscapes have been reduced to silent commodities by being put into golden frames on top of our fireplaces. Too many landscapes have been reified by being considered as objects holding forth referents to an omnipotent looker-on, with his/her language ever ready to seize and transcribe. The articles gathered here, prolonging an international conference held at the University of Caen Basse-Normandie (France), 14-16 June 2007, set the landscapes loose again by engaging with their essentially relational quality.
What makes this volume particularly stimulating and critically innovative is this initial acknowledgement of a landscape’s reflectiveness – that is the fact that it contains unthought thought, and thus presents itself to us both passively and actively. This straightaway appraisal of the lines of flight in the seemingly static, tranquil images facing us, has opened the way to deeply critical readings bent on questioning old tracks, testing new itineraries, denying the closure of the subject. At the same time, and by way of consequence, it leads us to encounter the force in landscape. A force like an energy, an impetus, which makes it possible – if not advisable! – to still compose, read and enjoy landscapes in the XXIst century.
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Green Man Hopkins

Poetry and the Victorian Ecological Imagination

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John Parham

This book, the first to consider Gerard Manley Hopkins as an ecological writer, explores the dimension that social ecology offers to an ecocriticism hitherto dominated by romantic nature writing.
The case for a ‘green Hopkins’ is made through a paradigm of ‘Victorian Ecology’ that expands the scope of existing studies in Victorian literature and science. Parham argues that Hopkins developed a two-fold understanding of ecology – as a scientific philosophy constructed around ecosystems theory; and as a corresponding theory of society organised around the sustainable use of energy – as well as a corresponding poetic practice. In a radical new reading of the poems, he suggests that Hopkins translated an innovative nature poetry, in which rhythm conveyed a nature characterised by dialectical energy exchange, into a social ‘ecopoetry’ that embodied the environmental impact of Victorian ‘risk’ society on its human population.
Located within a ‘Victorian ecological imagination’ that fused romanticism and pragmatism, the book views Hopkins’ work as indicating the value of reconciling a deep ecological assertion of the intrinsic value of (nonhuman) nature with social ecology’s more pragmatic attempts to critique and re-conceptualise human life.
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Process

Landscape and Text

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Edited by Catherine Brace and Adeline Johns-Putra

While the relationship between place and creative effort has been the focus of pronounced new interest in various disciplines, the contours and co-ordinates of the process by which one informs the other, by which landscape shapes text and vice versa, have yet to be delineated in any systematic fashion. This volume sheds light on that process, investigating the ways in which it is both reciprocal and interstitial: how does text shape our perception of landscape as much as it is shaped by it, and how do we account for the points at which text and landscape intersect? The first part of the volume introduces us to the question of process in landscape and literary studies; the second part examines the moments within the process by which landscape and text come to bear upon each other; and the final part deals with the relationship between the material experience of landscape and the formal characteristics of a given text, using this to reflect back on the processes of landscape perception and creativity. This volume spans the disciplines of geography, literary studies, and the visual arts. It also brings together scholarly and creative perspectives, interspersing academic commentary with poetic-photographic essays.