Poetry and Ecology in the Age of Milton and Marvell: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Poetry and Ecology in the Age of Milton and Marvell

1st Edition

By Diane Kelsey McColley

Routledge

276 pages

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Description

The focus of this study is the perception of nature in the language of poetry and the languages of natural philosophy, technology, theology, and global exploration, primarily in seventeenth-century England. Its premise is that language and the perception of nature vitally affect each other and that seventeenth-century poets, primarily John Milton, Andrew Marvell, and Henry Vaughan, but also Margaret Cavendish, Thomas Traherne, Anne Finch, and others, responded to experimental proto-science and new technology in ways that we now call 'ecological' - concerned with watersheds and habitats and the lives of all creatures. It provides close readings of works by these poets in the contexts of natural history, philosophy, and theology as well as technology and land use, showing how they responded to what are currently considered ecological issues: deforestation, mining, air pollution, drainage of wetlands, destruction of habitats, the sentience and intelligence of animals, overbuilding, global commerce, the politics of land use, and relations between social justice and justice towards the other-than-human world. In this important book, Diane McColley demonstrates the language of poetry, the language of responsible science, and the language of moral and political philosophy all to be necessary parts of public discourse.

Reviews

Prize: A Choice Outstanding Academic Title for 2008 James Holly Hanford Award of the Milton Society of America for the distinguished book of 2007 'Startlingly comprehensive, this work makes clear that air pollution, deforestation, wetland loss, radical changes in land use, animal rights, and a host of similar issues were surprisingly timely ones in the seventeenth century, routinely making their appearance in the literature of the day. This eye-opening, beautifully written book is absolutely essential for anyone interested in the literary history of the natural world.' Ken Hiltner, author of Milton and Ecology ’… a spectacular ecocritical analysis of 17th-century English poetry… Highly recommended.’ Choice ’… readers will no doubt be rewarded by McColley’s insights into early-modern sensibilities that commune with nature.’ Seventeenth-Century News ’A deep love of poetry animates McColley's writing, and reading her fascinating research into early modern science, philosophy and religion comes with the pleasure of her celebrations of language and nature. Such enthusiasms are so rare in academic criticism, which so often reads more like dead matter than vital spirit.’ Renaissance Quarterly ’McColley's study is as useful as it is inspiring … includes brilliant illustrations and an index to enhance the learning experience …’ Sixteenth Century Journal

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Introduction: the state of nature and the problem of language; Perceiving habitats: Marvell and the language of sensuous reciprocity; Earth, mining, monotheism and mountain theology; Air, water, woods; Hylozoic poetry: the lives of plants; Zoic poetry: animals, ornithology, and the ethics of empathy; Animal ethics and radical justice; Milton's prophetic epics; Bibliography; Index.

About the Author

Diane Kelsey McColley is Professor II Emeritus at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden, USA. She is the author of Milton's Eve; A Gust for Paradise: Milton's Eden and the Visual Arts; and Poetry and Music in Seventeenth-Century England.

About the Series

Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity

Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity
For more than a decade now, Literary and Scientific Cultures of Early Modernity has provided a forum for groundbreaking work on the relations between literary and scientific discourses in Europe, during a period when both fields were in a crucial moment of historical formation. We welcome proposals that address the many overlaps between modes of imaginative writing typical of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries”poetics, rhetoric, prose narrative, dramatic production, utopia”and the vocabularies, conceptual models, and intellectual methods of newly emergent 'scientific' fields such as medicine, astronomy, astrology, alchemy, psychology, mapping, mathematics, or natural history. In order to reflect the nature of intellectual inquiry during the period, the series is interdisciplinary in orientation and publishes monographs, edited collections, and selected critical editions of primary texts relevant to an understanding of the mutual implication of literary and scientific epistemologies.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LIT000000
LITERARY CRITICISM / General