The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks in Literary Ecology Summary

The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks in Literary Ecology Summary

The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks In Literary Ecology Summary

This article will cover the introduction of the Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology by Cheryll Glotfelty, an important topic from the perspective of Literary Theory in English Literature. If you are a literature student, this is a must-read for you. 

Cheryll Glotfelty is a female American Writer who has written Introduction to Ecocriticism. 

She is the first professor of literature and environment in the US and she thinks that we have not given enough importance to nature writing. 

Introduction To The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks In Literary Ecology Summary 

Let us now discuss in detail the introduction to the Ecocriticism Reader: Landmarks in Literary Ecology.

Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, in the introduction to this book, have discussed the origin as well as the history of ecocriticism. The whole plan of the book has been discussed in this part. While the book has been divided into three broad parts, the introduction itself contains a number of sub-topics. 

1. Literary Studies In An Age Of Environmental Crisis

The field of literary studies has been constantly changing over time, making it more and more interdisciplinary and its boundaries are also gradually expanding. 

However, it is important to include the issue of the global environmental crisis in recent literary studies. 

Considering the environmental crisis at a global level, it is crucial that literature and environment are studied from an interdisciplinary point of view so that all the sciences can come together to study and analyze the environment and find out the solutions that can solve the environmental problems that have been existing so far. 

The most burning topic among all is the threat to ecology and should be included in the field of literary studies, and it cannot be compared with the issues like gender, class, and race. 

The world today is unbothered about the conditions of mother earth and it is degrading with each passing day, as a result, threatening the ecology, and only literary studies can bring light upon such a serious issue. 

Environmental issues can be seen every day in newspaper headlines including waste contamination, oil spills, extinction of various species, nuclear waste dumps, holes in the ozone layer, acid rain, soil erosion, deforestation, and global warming. We can see that the number of conferences about the environment and development has also increased. 

Cheryll Glotfelty has noticed that for literature and environment, there are no jobs, journals, discussion groups, conferences, jargon, or professional societies while other fields such as law, sociology, philosophy, history, and religion do consider environmental problems. 

Even the movements including Women’s liberation and civil rights have also caught the interest of writers but environmental issues and movements have still not affected literary studies. 

Even if there was any approach in the field of environment, it was only at the individual level which did not have that much impact. The graduate students who showed their interest in giving an environmental approach to literature found themselves left out and thus, there was no community of scholars who could join or find job announcements in this field. 

2. Birth Of Environmental Literary Studies

Environmental literary criticism was introduced in the 1980s. Frederick o. Waage was the person who edited Teaching Environmental Literature: Materials, Methods, Resources which put forth awareness and concern about the environment in literary studies. 

Alicia Nitecki (the founder of The American Nature Writing Newsletter, 1989) also published her brief essays, classroom notes, book reviews, and other information about writing on nature and the environment. 

The first academic position in Literature and the environment was created by the University of Nevada, Reno. 

Later on, on the programs of annual literary conferences, special sessions began to be held on nature writing and environmental literature. 

The 1991 special session “Ecocriticism” The Greening of Literary Studies” was organized by Harold Fromm. 

Ultimately, at the annual meeting of the Western Literature Association in 1992, a new Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) was formed whose first elected president was Scott Slovic. The mission of ASLE was to promote the ideas and information related to literature that works on the interconnection between humans and the natural world. 

Finally, in 1993, Ecological Literary Study became a recognizable critical school. 

The fundamental premise of Ecological Criticism – Human culture is intimately related to the physical world. Human culture is responsible for affecting the physical world as well as is affected by it too. The human perception of wilderness is examined by Ecocritics. Ecocritics also explores the transformation of human perception of nature throughout history. Consequently, the Ecocritics’ job is to find if the current issues in the environment are correctly represented or even mentioned in modern literature and popular culture. 

The first person to use the term “Ecocriticism” was William Rueckert who published an essay “Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism” in 1978. 

He has arguments against the use of ecology and its concept in the study of literature. Ecocriticism is an organized movement that studies literature from the perspective of the environment and its issues. It is quite different and unique from the other approaches in literary criticism. 

Generally, the relation between a text, the writer, and the world is examined in literary theory, however, in the case of Ecocriticism, the link between the environment and human life is explored. 

Donald Worster, a Historian observed the relationship between the function of ethical systems and the contemporary global environmental crisis. If the ecological values are overlooked by people, it will only make their quality of life suffer drastically. The democratic culture has resulted in an Ecologic crisis.  

Ecocriticism does not favor exploitative development. Ecocriticism or Ecological Criticism refers to the ecological analysis of human life that is reflected in literature. Its principle is to deal with the connection between nature and human life. The contemporary global environmental crisis is what the ecological approach considers. 

While in the twentieth century, the crucial topics to be studied were race, gender, and class, in the twenty-first century, environmental concerns took the place.

Cheryll Glotfelty has emphasized the establishment of ecocriticism as a completely new and whole school. And by 1993, the ecological literary study actually emerged as a recognizable critical school. The former unconsidered scholars came together with the young scholars as well as graduate students and formed a strong interest group, all having aspirations to change the profession.

3. Definition Of Ecocriticism 

As per the definition of Ecocriticism given by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm, Ecocriticism is the study of the relationship between the physical environment and literature. 

As we know that feminist criticism examines literature and the language from the perspective of a feminist, in the same manner, the ecocritics study the representation of nature in the sonnet. 

Their job is to examine the role of physical setting in the plot that a novel, short story, or drama has. They examine the consistency of ecological wisdom with the values expressed in a piece of text. 

The work on the premonition that the human culture is connected to the physical world, affects it as well as gets affected by it. 

Ecocriticism studies the way nature is represented in literature and raises consciousness. Its promulgated Nature writing teaches us to value the natural world. Nature Writing has a rich past, a vibrant present, and a promising future. The environmental conditions of an author’s life are also studied by ecocritics because it is the influence of place on the imagination of the author. 

Studying the place where an author grows up and travels and writes is very important in understanding the literary work of that author. 

As per the Ecocritical theory, human beings cannot be separated from nature. 

4. The Humanities And The Environmental Crisis

5. Survey Of Ecocriticism In America

6. The Future Of Ecocriticism

7. Essays In This Collection

The Ecocriticism Reader Landmarks In Literary Ecology Summary In Brief

Ecocriticism definition – The word ecocriticism was coined by Rueckert in 1978. Eco means earth and logy means logical writing. Ecology thus means logical writing about the earth. 

Ecocriticism is the union of literature and mother earth. In ecocriticism, poets and writers give importance to the environment in which we are living. 

What is the use of composing poems on flowers when our drinking water is dirty?

Now poets, writers, and critics are thinking about mother earth. 

We are thinking of air pollution, water pollution, land pollution, and noise pollution. 

Ecocriticism guides us to examine the world around us. This criticism teaches us how to deal with nature. 

A great example of ecocriticism is Wordsworth’s poem Daffodils – 

“I wandered lonely as a cloud… then my heart with pleasure fills and dances with the daffodils. “

The personification of the flower shows the happy relationship between man and nature. 

Ecocriticism has concerns with humans and noon humans as well. Man depends on land, water, air, rivers, seas, etc, so man must keep them clean. We should try to keep away from eco-disaster.

The third world is facing starvation. This means that the poor countries of Asia and Africa do not have enough food. Ecocriticism can help poor people by providing food, clothes, shelter, and medicine. 

Ecocriticism can check the cutting down of rainforests. Ecocriticism can check the harm that is being done to our beautiful earth. This criticism can help in preventing wars. 

In short, ecocriticism can make this earth a more beautiful and peaceful place to live in. 

Final Worlds

We are still working on this article, the remaining parts will be covered soon.

Till then, check out our other articles: Roland Barthes The Death Of The Author Summary, Towards A Black Feminist Criticism Summary – Barbara Smith, and Of Mimicry And Man Summary By Homi Bhabha

If you want us to write something else for you about Literature or Psychology, kindly let us know via comments.

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