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French Ecocriticism

From the Early Modern Period to the Twenty-First Century

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Edited By Daniel A. Finch-Race and Stephanie Posthumus

This book expounds fruitful ways of analysing matters of ecology, environments, nature, and the non-human world in a broad spectrum of material in French. Scholars from Canada, France, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States examine the work of writers and thinkers including Michel de Montaigne, Victor Hugo, Émile Zola, Arthur Rimbaud, Marguerite Yourcenar, Gilbert Simondon, Michel Serres, Michel Houellebecq, and Éric Chevillard. The diverse approaches in the volume signal a common desire to bring together form and content, politics and aesthetics, theory and practice, under the aegis of the environmental humanities.

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Introduction: Developing French Ecocriticism (Daniel A. Finch-Race and Stephanie Posthumus)

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Daniel A. Finch-Race and Stephanie Posthumus

Introduction: Developing French Ecocriticism

This volume expounds fruitful ways of analysing matters of ecology, environments, nature, and the non-human world in a broad spectrum of material in French. Scholars from Canada, France, Great Britain, Spain, and the United States outline new directions for French ecocriticism by exploring a variety of aesthetic, literary, socio-historical, and ethical questions:

The diverse responses in this volume signal a common desire to bring together form and content, politics and aesthetics, theory and practice, all under the aegis of the environmental humanities.

Whereas ecocriticism has rapidly grown in the anglophone world since the 1990s (alongside politically oriented approaches in feminist studies, postcolonial studies, gender studies, and animal studies), its implementation in France has been slower. Rather than enumerate the multifarious reasons for this delay (thereby running the risk of reifying difference), we prefer to identify a more general suspicion in France about politically driven cultural studies that are perceived as glossing over the aesthetic, formal and stylistic elements of cultural production. Whether the perception of ecocriticism as less attuned to poetics and literary form ← 9 | 10 → is true or not,1 it has been the basis for repeated objections. This volume illustrates that ecocriticism does not ignore questions of form and structure: the following chapters pay careful attention to aesthetics and poetics in terms of formal aspects such as versification, filming techniques and genre conventions.

The...

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