Practical Ecocriticism: Literature, Biology, and the Environment

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University of Virginia Press, 2003 - Literary Criticism - 213 pages
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Practical Ecocriticismis the first book to ground environmental literature firmly in the life sciences, particularly evolutionary biology, and to attempt to bridge the ever-widening gulf between the "Two Cultures." Glen Love--himself one of the founders of ecocriticism--argues that literary studies has been diminished by a general lack of recognition for the vital role the biological foundation of human life plays in cultural imagination. Love presents with great clarity and directness an invaluable model for how to incorporate Darwinian ideas--the basis for all modern biology and ecology--into ecocritical thinking.

Beginning with an overview of the field of literature and environment and its claim to our attention, and arguing for a biologically informed theoretical base for literary studies, Love then aims the lens of this critical perspective on the pastoral genre and works by canonical writers such as Willa Cather, Ernest Hemingway, and William Dean Howells. A markedly interdisciplinary and refreshingly accessible work, Practical Ecocriticism will interest and challenge the entire ecocritical community, as well as humanists, social scientists, and others concerned with the current rediscovery of human nature.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
Why Ecocriticism?
13
Ecocriticism and Science
37
Et in Arcadia Ego Pastoral Meets Ecocriticism
65
Place Style and Human Nature in Willa Gathers The Professors House
89
Hemingway among the Animals
117
The Realist in Altruria Evolution Utopianism and Ecology in William Dean Howells
135
Afterword
163
Notes
167
Works Cited
183
Index
205
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Glen A. Love is Professor Emeritus of English at the University of Oregon, where he taught American literature and initiated courses in bioregional and environmental literature over the past three decades. His ecocritical publications include New Americans and numerous periodical essays on literature and the environment. He and his biologist wife, Rhoda Love, published the groundbreaking anthology, Environmental Crisis, at the beginning of the modern environmental movement.

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