A Century of Early Ecocriticism

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In the 1970s the relationship between literature and the environment emerged as a topic of serious and widespread interest among writers and scholars. The ideas, debates, and texts that grew out of this period subsequently converged and consolidated into the field now known as ecocriticism. A Century of Early Ecocriticism looks behind these recent developments to a prior generation’s ecocritical inclinations. Written between 1864 and 1964, these thirty-four selections include scholars writing about the “green” aspects of literature as well as nature writers reflecting on the genre. In his introduction, David Mazel argues that these early “ecocritics” played a crucial role in both the development of environmentalism and the academic study of American literature and culture. Filled with provocative, still timely ideas, A Century of Early Ecocriticism demonstrates that our concern with the natural world has long informed our approach to literature.

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