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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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David Crouch

This chapter considers ideas of land and identity processes through an original consideration of landscape. Following Taussig’s argument that cultural meaning and identification are less constituted in institutionalised and ritualised signification than emergent in the performance of life, attention focuses upon the performative character of landscape and its relationality with land and identity (1992). For over a decade landscape has been exemplary of the critical debates between representational and so-called non-representational theories affecting cultural geographies and related disciplines. At the same time discussions concerning mobility, in for example the relative irrelevance of institutional borders and the occurrence of translocal identities contest the familiar emphasis upon the habitual and situated character of landscape, identity and its role in the work of representations. This paper offers a contribution to the growing awareness of a need to try and engage these debates surrounding landscape across disciplines. Making land significant in life is considered through landscape in the notion of spacing. The notion of an everyday, gentle politics is introduced to the constitution of identities and feelings of land. This approach is pursued particularly in terms of how we understand artwork and representation, insistently in comparison with wider kinds of practice. Landscape is considered as the performative expressive-poetics of spacing in a way that makes possible an always emergent dynamic relationality between representations, practices and identities. Finally, identities and values concerning land are produced relationally in the energy cracks between performativity and institutions, as the several investigations upon which this chapter draws testify

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Peter Merriman

This chapter seeks to challenge the obsession of many scholars with the hyphenated, short-hand concepts of time-space and space-time. While acknowledging that senses of spatiality and temporality are important to our apprehensions of the world, I question why they are frequently positioned as the primordial, foundational, a priori qualities and measures for thinking about position, context, and the event. The chapter starts by tracing how space and time have increasingly been thought together in (human) geography since the late 1960s, before examining how certain strands of processual and post-structuralist thinking might provide an alternative approach for thinking about the unfolding of events. The paper suggests that the unfolding of specific events may result in sensibilities and ontologies characterised by an apprehension of affect, movement, rhythm, force, and energy, as much as time or space. In the final section I explore how, in many situations and while engaging in many practices, we appear to possess an openness to a register we might call movement-space.

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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.