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Hispanic Ecocriticism


Edited By José Manuel Marrero Henríquez

Hispanic Ecocriticism finds a rich soil in the main topics of environmental concern in the literature of Latin America and Spain, not only as a source for renewing critical analysis and hermeneutics, but also for the benefit of global environmental awareness. In a renewed exchange of transatlantic relationships, Hispanic Ecocriticism intermingles Latin American ecocritical issues of interest — the oil industry; contamination of forests and rivers; urban ecologies; African, Andean, and Amazonian biocultural ecosystems — with those of interest in Spain — animal rights and the ecological footprints of human activity in contemporary narratives of eco-science fiction, in dystopias, and in literature inspired by natural or rural landscapes that conceal ways of life and cultures in peril of extinction.

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Pamela Phillips: Enlightening Nature: An Ecocritical Reading of Eighteenth-Century Spanish Literature

Enlightening Nature: An Ecocritical Reading of

Eighteenth-Century Spanish Literature*


Pamela Phillips

Abstract: A common thread in the traditional history of Spanish literature marginalizes the eighteenth century and values its aesthetic sensibility towards place insofar as it announces the romantic gaze. As for the first tendency, there is no doubt that recent scholarship has secured the texts of the 1700s their deserved place in the literary chronology. The romanticization of eighteenth-century aesthetics has delayed the recognition of the value of specifically that period’s writing on the natural world and society’s relationship to it on its own terms, and not through the lens of a posterior mindset. Nature is an integral part of Enlightenment thought; indeed, the view of nature as something to be conquered or controlled by man dates to this period, as well as the posterior recognition of nature as a limited resource. Much eighteenth-century Spanish writing deals with nature and environmental concerns in ways that are less egocentric than the Romantic model and much more in line with contemporary models, thus making it a valuable resource for the ecocritical dialogue in general and for the local case of Spain in the twenty-first century. This chapter responds to ecocriticism’s intermittent attention to eighteenth-century Spanish literature. The ecological reconsideration of eighteenth-century Spanish literature will examine canonical texts such as Feijoo’s “Honra y provecho de la agricultura”, Jovellanos’s “Descripción del Castillo de Bellver” and his “Informe sobre la ley agraria”, to name a few, as demonstrations of a profound concern for the natural world, its ecological, economic, and...

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