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Visions and Revisions

Studies in Literature and Culture


Edited By Grzegorz Czemiel, Justyna Galant, Anna Kędra-Kardela, Aleksandra Kędzierska and Marta Komsta

Collected under the theme of Visions and Revisions, the papers included in this volume examine different aspects of literature and culture of the Anglophone world. The first part gathers articles dealing with poetry of such epochs as the seventeenth century, the Victorian era and the modern times. Part two focuses on prose works representing such conventions and modes as the romance, the Gothic novel, the condition of England novel, Victorian and neo-Victorian fiction, the science fiction novel and gay fiction. Part three concerns various aspects of British and American culture, including the new media, drama and journalism, and advertising. In its diversity the volume reflects the dynamics of change in literature and culture, enabling the readers to investigate the multifaceted canon.
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Ecocriticism and Romantic Ecology: Gilbert White and John Clare

← 28 | 29 →Jacek Wiśniewski


In Romantic Ecology, Jonathan Bate’s excellent book on Wordsworth and the environmental tradition, the author reminds us that the notion of ecology is older than the term itself: it was coined in 1866 by the German zoologist and enthusiastic propagator of Darwin’s theory of evolution, Ernst Haeckel. The German scientist relied in his definition on terms borrowed from the science of economy, and also on Darwin’s theory of natural selection. Ecology is called “the economy of nature – the investigation of the total relations of the animal both to its inorganic and to its organic environment” (Bate 1991, 36). But if there is something we call “Romantic ecology,” then clearly ecology existed before it was named.

Ecocriticism, or “green” criticism, explores the relationship between us humans as a species, with our art and literature, and the natural environment. As such it is an offshoot of the science of ecology, even if it does not pretend to solve ecological problems, and is more focused on human interactions with nature. Ecology creates a model which stresses the wholeness of the living globe, and the intricate yet infinitely delicate balance of its interconnected working parts.

In the opening part of my paper I shall try to explain briefly what literary ecocriticism is, and what it attempts to achieve in the field of literary studies. Literary ecocriticism “seeks to evaluate texts and ideas in terms of their coherence and usefulness as responses to environmental crisis” (Kerridge 1998, 5). In the words...

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