1st Edition

The Experience of Disaster in Early Modern English Literature

Edited By Sophie Chiari Copyright 2022
    198 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    198 Pages 8 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book addresses the concept of ‘disaster’ through a variety of literary texts dating back to the early modern period. While Shakespeare’s age, which was an era of colonisation, certainly marked a turning point in men and women’s relations with nature, the present times seem to announce the advent of environmental justice in spite of the massive ecological destructions that have contributed to reshape our planet. Between then and now, a whole history of climatic disasters and of their artistic depictions needs to be traced. The literary representations of eco-catastrophes, in particular, have consistently fashioned the English identity and led to the progress of science and the ‘advancement of learning’. They have also obliged us to adapt, recycle and innovate. How could the destructive process entailed by ecological disasters be represented on the page and thereby transformed into a creative process encouraging meditation, preservation and resilience in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? To this question, this book offers nuanced, contextualised and perceptive answers. Divided into three main sections ‘Extreme Conditions’, ‘Tempestuous Skies’, and ‘Biblical Calamities,' it deals with the major environmental issues of our time through the prism of early modern culture and literature.

    General Introduction

    Sophie Chiari

    PART I. Extreme Conditions

    Chapter 1

    ‘Shakespeare, Natural Disaster, and Atmospheric Phenomena’

    Geraldo U. de Sousa

    Chapter 2

    ‘Frozen: English Journeys to the End of the World’

    Sophie Lemercier-Goddard

    Chapter 3

    ‘Musical Representations of Natural Phenomena in Early Modern English Madrigals’

    Chantal Schütz

    PART II. Tempestuous Skies

    Chapter 4

    ‘Man in Stormy Weathers in the Age of Shakespeare’

    Danièle Berton-Charrière

    Chapter 5

    ‘The Storms of Othello in 1613’

    David M. Bergeron

    Chapter 6

    ‘Francis Bacon and the Mastery of the Winds’

    Angus Vine

    PART III. Biblical Calamities

    Chapter 7

    ‘The Plague of Gnats in Shakespeare and his Contemporaries’

    Sophie Chiari

    Chapter 8

    ‘Michael Drayton and the Invention of the Disaster Epic: Eco-catastrophe in the Late Poems’

    Todd A. Borlik

    Chapter 9

    ‘John Ray’s Inquiry into the Future Dissolution of the World in The Miscellaneous Discourses

    Michaël Popelard


    ‘Climate Change and the Postsecular in Paul Schrader’s First Reformed

    John Gillies


    Sophie Chiari is a tenured professor of early modern English Literature at Université Clermont Auvergne. She holds a doctoral degree from Université Paul Valéry - Montpellier 3, France, and she received her accreditation to supervise research from Université Paris 3-Sorbonne Nouvelle. Among her recently published collections of essays are Freedom and Censorship in Early Modern English Literature (2018) and Performances at Court in the Age of Shakespeare, co-edited with John Mucciolo (2019). Her monograph Shakespeare’s Representation of Weather, Climate and Environment, was published in 2019 and her latest book, entitled Shakespeare and the Environment: A Dictionary, was published in early 2022.