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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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Contents

Acknowledgements

Daniel A. Finch-Race and Stephanie Posthumus

Introduction: Developing French Ecocriticism

Part I Early Modern Economies and Ecologies

Jeff Persels

Through a Glass Darkly: Dominion and the French Wars of Religion

Pauline Goul

The Vanity of Ecology: Expenditure in Montaigne’s Vision of the New World

Part II Romanticism and Nature; Naturalism and Animality

Karen F. Quandt

Victor Hugo and the Politics of Ecopoetics

Claire Nettleton

Fauves in the Faubourg: Animal Aesthetics in Émile Zola’s Thérèse Raquin

Part III Nineteenth-Century Ecopoetics

Daniel A. Finch-Race

Ecopoetic Adventures in Rimbaud’s ‘Sensation’ and ‘Ma Bohème’

David E. Evans

Towards an Ecopoetics of French Free Verse: Marie Krysinska’s Rythmes pittoresques

Part IV Twentieth-Century Ecological Thought

Teófilo Sanz

Marguerite Yourcenar’s Ecological Thinking: Wilderness, Place-Connectedness, Biocentrism, and an Ethic of Care

Christopher Watkin

Michel Serres: From Restricted to General Ecology

Part V Millennial Bodies, Origins and Becoming-Milieu

Jonathan Krell

Ecoerotica in Stéphane Audeguy’s La Théorie des nuages

Nikolaj Lübecker

The Individual as Environment: Watching Jean-Claude Rousseau’s La Vallée close with Lucretius and Simondon

Part VI Twenty-First-Century Natural Limits

Anaïs Boulard

Writing (on) Environmental Catastrophes: The End of the World in Éric Chevillard’s Sans l’orang-outan and Michel Houellebecq’s La Possibilité d’une île

Hannes De Vriese

On the Meaning of Being Alone with Nature: Sylvain Tesson’s Ecocritical Sincerity and Ecopoetic Sensuality in Dans les forêts de Sibérie

Part VII Horizons and Prospects

Stephanie Posthumus

Engaging with Cultural Differences: The Strange Case of French écocritique

Notes on Contributors

Index