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The Future of Environmental Criticism: Environmental Crisis and Literary Imagination Paperback – Aug 19 2005
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"Where did ecocriticism spring from? What directions has it taken on both sides of the Atlantic and beyond? What have been its key debates? What are its most radical strands that should take environmentally aware literary criticism into the future? Economically and elegantly, Lawrence Buell develops an astutely judged overview of a richly diverse but crucially important movement in literary studies. A leading practitioner in the field, Buell reveals how his own work has been influenced by the key debates and identifies the challenges for us all, writers and readers, local neighbours and global species, in facing the future our literary culture mediates and influences." Terry Gifford, author of Pastoral (1999) and The Unreliable Mushrooms (poetry, 2003).
"A much needed overview of a vital new field, The Future of Environmental Criticism captures the ecocritical movement’s present state of dynamic metamorphosis as it opens into post-humanism and ecofeminism, engages poststructural theory and environmental justice, and tests out alliances with various scientific fields and critical science studies in an increasingly international context. Nobody could accomplish this task better than Lawrence Buell, whose earlier books The Environmental Imagination and Writing for an Endangered World have become defining works for the environmental turn in literary scholarship. The previous works were primarily American in focus, while the new one begins in an Anglo-American context and broadens to a global literary scope. This latest volume completes an indispensable trilogy." Louise Westling, University of Oregon
“Buell (Harvard) is one of the US’s major voices on environmental criticism-.-a fairly recent area of literary and cultural studies known as “ecocriticism.” Several recent works have offered suggestions about how this movement or approach can be defined, but none addresses the subject so broadly, so authoritatively, and in such precise and carefully considered terms as this one does- Buell helped establish the terms for humanistic environmental writing with The Environmental Imagination (CR, Sep’95, 33-0121) and Writing for an Endangered World (CH, Nov01., 39-1386), and he perceives the present study as a “roadmap of trends, emphases, and controversies within green literary studies more generally.’ Comprising five brief chapters, all accessible and extraordinarily well informed, the book starts with a history of environmental criticism and writing; moves to a consideration of the relevant major writers involved in complicating its issues; considers its impact in terms of ethics and gender and of the judiciary and politics; and finally looks at its future, The glossary, full notes, and extended bibliography make it clear that the book’s main thrust is definitional, though Buell sees the study as more ‘essayistic” than definitive, Summing Up: Essential: All academic libraries.” T. Loe, SUNY Oswego
“Buell’s survey, framed by chapters about the emergence and possible future development of ecocriticism, organizes its material through a focus on issues of literary realism and representation in their relation to nature (chapter 2); the central role of place, space, and imagination for ecocritical thought (chapter 3); and a discussion of politics and ethics in ecocriticism that ranges from deep ecology to ecofeminism and environmental justice (chapter 4). These broad but well chosen categories allow Buell to cover an enormous range of creative and theoretical material that he discusses with the encompassing mastery and insight that readers of his two earlier works on ecocriticism … have come to expect.”
"This is an important beginning that shows how the future of the book lies in the past." Travis V. Mason, Canadian Literature 191
“An extremely methodical, accessible, and timely introduction to the field of environmental criticism for specialists and non-specialists alike, a teasing insight into ecocriticism at work, and an excellent exposition of the development and evolution of the discipline in its most recent manifestations.”
Ruth Glynn, University of Bristol, Modern Language Review
This manifesto summarizes the disparate critical practices that constitute "ecocriticism." Lawrence Buell, one of the world's leading theorists in ecocriticism, traces the ecocritical movement back to its roots in the 1970s, through its coalescence into a recognizable entity in the early 1990s, to its diversification and proliferation today. He shows how, from an initial focus on such genres as nature writing and nature poetry, ecocriticism has come to take all of literary history and discourse as its arena; and he addresses questions currently facing the discipline, such as: Why has the interest in environmental literary and cultural studied so quickly increased? Can the nature-preservation emphasis of first-wave ecocriticism be reconciled with second-wave concerns with issues of environmental justice? What is the meaning of "place" in a globalizing world? And how do aesthetic, ethical, and political concerns interact and collide in ecocritical work? Finally, Buell looks to the future of ecocriticism, predicting that discourses of the environment will become a permanent part of literary and cultural studies.See all Product Description
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He is careful to consider American, British, and other ecological works and scholars, showing how they work against and with each other in various ways.
One of the most helpful visuals he gives in understanding the diversity of this movement is his idea of two axes. Left to right axis has the following poles: ecocentrism & anthropocentric ethics. Top to bottom axis: health of physical environment & social welfare or interhuman equity. Eco-criticism, he continues, can land anywhere on this axis, giving an idea of the tensions and divergences of the critical stance as a whole.
Although this is a great "introductory" book, it also has a wonderful bibliography that I am using extensively to fuel my own research. As added bonuses this book is a smooth read (oh, such a relief in academia), has a great index, and even a somewhat useful glossary.
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