Renaissance Ecopolitics from Shakespeare to Bacon: Rethinking Cosmopolis, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Renaissance Ecopolitics from Shakespeare to Bacon

Rethinking Cosmopolis, 1st Edition

By Elizabeth Gruber


176 pages

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The work of Shakespeare and his contemporaries has often been the testing-ground for innovations in literary studies, but this has not been true of ecocriticism. This is partly because, until recently, most ecologically minded writers have located the origins of ecological crisis in the Enlightenment, with the legacies of the Cartesian cogito singled out as a particular cause of our current woes. Traditionally, Renaissance writers were tacitly (or, occasionally, overtly) presumed to be oblivious of environmental degradation and unaware that the episteme—the conceptual edifice of their historical moment—was beginning to crack. This perception is beginning to change, and Dr. Guber's work is poised to illuminate the burgeoning number of ecocritical studies devoted to this period, in particular, by showing how the classical concept of the cosmopolis, which posited the harmonious integration of the Order of Nature (cosmos) with the Order of Society (polis), was at once revived and also systematically dismantled in the Renaissance. Renaissance Ecopolitics from Shakespeare to Bacon: Rethinking Cosmopolis demonstrates that the Renaissance is the hinge, the crucial turning point in the human-nature relationship and examines the persisting ecological consequences of the nature-state’s demise.

Table of Contents

Introduction: "The Making and Unmaking of Cosmopolis

Chapter One: "Nature’s ‘Black Intelligencer’": The Ecopolitics of Alienation in Richard III

Chapter Two: "Building the Necropolis: Killing Mother/Nature in The Spanish Tragedy and Titus Andronicus"

Chapter Three: "Nature on the Verge Confronting ‘Bare Life’ in Arden of Faversham and King Lear"

Chapter Four: "Vexing Pleasure: The Ecopolitics of Erotism in Measure for Measure and Tis Pity She’s a Whore"

Chapter Five: "Disenchanting Nature: Macbeth’s Anti-Green Epistemology"

Chapter Six: "‘Desolate Strangers’: Vulnerability and Despair in Francis Bacon’s New Atlantis"

About the Author

Elizabeth Gruber is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Lock Haven University

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