204 pages | 4 B/W Illus.
The Radical Ecology of the Shelleys: Eros and Environment is the first full-length study to explore a radically queer ecology at work in writings by Percy Bysshe Shelley and Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley as their discussions of nature and the natural consistently link ecology and erotic practice. Initiated by Timothy Morton in 2010 as a hybrid of two schools of thinking about nature, queer ecology combines the alertness of environmentalists to constructions of the "natural" with efforts of sexuality scholars to denaturalize identity and to expose sexuality as a culture-bound construct. Conceptions of place are central to this investigation not only because an attachment to place is traditionally thought to be the ontological basis of all environmental consciousness (e.g. think-globally-act-locally) but because these two Romantic writers underscore the dynamic interaction between a person’s natural surroundings and his/her interpersonal attachments. The poetical and prose writings of the Shelleys claim our special attention because of their unusual conception of the oikos, the etymological root of "ecology," to mean both local grounds and the social, often domestic, places in which people dwell and desire. The overarching thesis of this book asserts that proto-ecological theories in Romantic-era England cannot be understood separately from discourses related to married/family life, and the texts considered demonstrate the comingling of earthly and erotic enjoyment. The issues raised by Eros and Environment are fundamental not only to literary and queer history but to all humanistic studies. They render the study of nature from a queer perspective a matter of intense interest to scholars in numerous disciplines ranging from ecocriticism and the natural sciences, including climate studies, to feminist criticism and sexuality studies.
"Carman's account of its queerness makes The Radical Ecology of the Shelleys a really interesting, important contribution to Shelley studies and to Romantic ecocriticism. While the strangeness of the natural world is well-established in Romantic scholarship, the strangeness of human sexuality is less established, and the strength of Carman's book lies in his synthesis of the two."
- Seth T. Reno, Aubern University, Review 19
Since the dawn of human artistic and cultural expression, the natural world and our complex and often vexed relationships with the other-than-human have been essential themes in such expression. This series seeks to offer an encompassing approach to literary explorations of environmental experiences and ideas, reaching from the earliest known literatures to the twenty-first century and accounting for vernacular approaches throughout the world. In recent decades, it has become clear that highly localized, non-Western forms of literary expression and scholarly analysis have much to contribute to ecocritical understanding—such studies, as well as examinations of European and North American literatures, are encouraged. Comparative treatments of literary works from different cultures, cultural expression in various media (including literature and connections with visual and performing arts, ecocinema, music, videogames, and material culture), and interdisciplinary scholarly methodologies would be ideal contributions to the series. What are the lessons regarding human-animal kinship that can be gleaned from indigenous songs in Africa, Amazonia, Oceania, the Americas, and other regions of the world? Which discourses of toxicity in the urban centers of contemporary East Asia and the post-industrial brownscapes of Europe and America might gain traction as we seek to balance human and ecological health and robust economies? What are some of the Third World expressions of postcolonial ecocriticism, posthumanism, material ecocriticism, gender-based ecocriticism, ecopoetics, and other avant-garde trends? How do basic concepts such as "wilderness" or "animal rights" or "pollution" find expression in diverse environmental voices and become imbricated with questions of caste, class, gender, politics, and ethnicity? The global circulation of culturally diverse texts provides resources for understanding and engaging with the environmental crisis. This series aims to provide a home for projects demonstrating both traditional and experimental approaches in environmental literary studies.
Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA
Swarnalatha Rangarajan, Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Matthew Wynn Sivils, Iowa State University, USA