This book identifies a major turn in contemporary British literature in response to environmental crisis. It argues that the pastoral is emerging as a new critical framework in which to explore the understanding of people and place in this context.
The New Pastoral in Contemporary British Writing explores how the pastoral tradition has transformed as authors respond to our changing relationships with place in this period. Analysing the features common to new pastoral writing, it brings together a corpus of works from major authors including Ali Smith, Jim Crace, John Burnside, Kathleen Jamie, and Robert Macfarlane. This book argues that crises such as pollution and climate change have shifted our understandings of the key relationships of pastoral and the terms upon which they are based, giving new senses to its older oppositions between the human and the natural, the urban and the rural, and the past and the present. Furthermore, it shows that the versions of pastoral that ensue align with current ecocritical arguments produced by thinking through the individual, cultural, and ecological implications of environmental crisis. As a result, pastoral emerges as the crucial strategy in the re-imagining of the environment underway in contemporary British writing, the resurgence of interest in nature writing, the increasing attention towards place in literary fiction, and the development of ecological or ‘climate’ fiction.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars of English as well as those concerned with the interdisciplinary topics of the environmental humanities, including literary geographies, new nature writing, cultures of climate change and the Anthropocene, and ecologically-oriented theory.
"Lilley’s book is a vital contribution to ecocritical scholarship of the British Isles. Encompassing both the new nature writing and literary fiction, it blends the bracing skepticism of Timothy Morton’s Ecology without Nature with the recuperative and progressive energies of previous contributions to social ecology such as Raymond Williams’s Towards 2000. Above all, it demonstrates the continuing relevance of pastoral in an era of multiple overlapping ecological and political crises." — Greg Garrard, Professor of Environmental Humanities, University of British Columbia, Canada
"Lilley offers a concise and compelling account of how contemporary authors have reimagined and repurposed the pastoral in a time of global environmental degradation. This book is essential reading for any scholar interested in how traditional forms of literature have become freshly pertinent in the Anthropocene." — Adeline Johns-Putra, University of Surrey, UK
1. Pastoral and Ecology in Contemporary British Writing
2. Taking Care: Pastoral and New British Nature Writing
3. Pastoral Relations: People, Place, and Nature in Contemporary British Literary Fiction
4. Uncertain Nature: Environmental Crisis in Pastoral
5. Conclusion: The New Pastoral in Twenty-First Century Britain
From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.
The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in the human dimensions of environmental change.
Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]), to submit proposals.
Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):
A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.
Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters
Professor Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA
Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA
Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan
Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.
Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.
Dr Paul Warde, Reader in Environmental History, University of Cambridge, UK
Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia , Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia
International Advisory Board
William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK