No Access

The Nature Essay

Ecocritical Explorations

Series:

Simone Schröder

The Nature Essay: Ecocritical Explorations is the first extended study of a powerful literary form born out of the traditions of Enlightenment and Romanticism. It traces the varied stylistic paradigms of the ‘nature essay’ down to the present day. Reading essays as platforms for ecological discourse, the book analyses canonical and marginalised texts, mainly from German, English and American literature. Simone Schröder argues that the essay’s environmental impact is rooted in its negotiation of scientific, poetic, spiritual, and ethical modes of perceiving nature. Together, the chapters on these four aspects form a historical panorama of the nature essay as a genre that continues to flourish in our time of ecological crisis.

Authors discussed include: Alexander von Humboldt, Henry David Thoreau, Virginia Woolf, Robert Musil, Ernst Jünger, W.G. Sebald, Kathleen Jamie, and David Foster Wallace.
No Access

From Ego to Eco

Mapping Shifts from Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism

Series:

Edited by Sabine Lenore Müller and Tina-Karen Pusse

From Ego to Eco – Mapping Shifts from Anthropocentrism to Ecocentrism investigates philosophical, political and aesthetic formations of ecocentrism. Representing a variety of disciplines and testing a broad scope of critical approaches, the contributors of this volume argue that anthropocentrism is not - as often claimed - a predominant world view but, rather, a widely contested concept. Within various historical and national contexts, the individual contributors of this book discuss the significance and relevance of ecocentrism and offer new avenues to emerging discourses in the humanities.

Contributors are: Darrell Arnold, Roman Bartosch, Aengus Daly, Gearoid Denvir, Elisabeth Jütten, Karla McManus, Sabine Lenore Müller, Maureen O’ Connor, Lillis Ó Laoire, Helen Phelan, Tina-Karen Pusse, and Christian Schmitt-Kilb.
No Access

Environmental Philosophy

A Revaluation of Cosmopolitan Ethics from an Ecocentric Standpoint

Series:

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.
No Access

EnvironMentality

Ecocriticism and the Event of Postcolonial Fiction

Series:

Roman Bartosch

This book addresses the role and potential of literature in the process of contesting and re-evaluating concepts of nature and animality, describing one’s individual environment as the starting point for such negotiations. It employs the notion of the ‘literary event’ to discuss the specific literary quality of verbal art conceptualised as EnvironMentality. EnvironMentality is grounded on the understanding that fiction does not explain or second scientific and philosophical notions but that it poses a fundamental challenge to any form of knowledge manifesting in processes determined by the human capacity to think beyond a given hermeneutic situation. Bartosch foregrounds the dialectics of understanding the other by means of literary interpretation in ecocritical readings of novels by Amitav Ghosh, Zakes Mda, Yann Martel, Margaret Atwood and J.M. Coetzee, arguing that EnvironMentality helps us as readers of fiction to learn from the books we read that which can only be learned by means of reading: to “think like a mountain” (Aldo Leopold) and to know “what it is like to be a bat” (Thomas Nagel).
No Access

Series:

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.
No Access

Plants and Literature

Essays in Critical Plant Studies

Series:

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.
No Access

Series:

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.
No Access

Land & Identity

Theory, Memory, and Practice

Series:

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.
No Access

Small City on a Big Couch

A Psychoanalysis of a Provincial Mexican City

Series:

Karen Rodríguez

This book psychoanalyzes a small Mexican city to figure out how the city makes sense of both herself and her many Others in the face of constant change. It puts the city on the couch and works through her past and present relationships, analyzing issues surrounding sexuality, the compulsion to repeat, transferences and desires.
No Access

Topodynamics of Arrival

Essays on Self and Pilgrimage

Series:

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.