Victorian Writers and the Environment: Ecocritical Perspectives, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Victorian Writers and the Environment

Ecocritical Perspectives, 1st Edition

Edited by Laurence W. Mazzeno, Ronald D. Morrison


260 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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Applying ecocritical theory to the work of Victorian writers, this collection explores what a diversity of ecocritical approaches can offer students and scholars of Victorian literature, at the same time that it critiques the general effectiveness of ecocritical theory. Interdisciplinary in their approach, the essays take up questions related to the nonhuman, botany, landscape, evolutionary science, and religion. The contributors cast a wide net in terms of genre, analyzing novels, poetry, periodical works, botanical literature, life-writing, and essays. Focusing on a wide range of canonical and noncanonical writers, including Charles Dickens, the Brontes, John Ruskin, Christina Rossetti, Jane Webb Loudon, Anna Sewell, and Richard Jefferies, Victorian Writers and the Environment demonstrates the ways in which nineteenth-century authors engaged not only with humans’ interaction with the environment during the Victorian period, but also how some authors anticipated more recent attitudes toward the environment.

Table of Contents


List of Figures


Introduction Practical Ecocriticism and the Victorian Text

Laurence W. Mazzeno, Alvernia University and Ronald D. Morrison,

Morehead State University

Chapter 1: Reading Nature: John Ruskin, Environment, and the Ecological Impulse

Mark Frost, University of Portsmouth

Chapter 2: Between "bounded field" and "brooding star": A Study of Tennyson’s


Valerie Purton, Anglia Ruskin University

Chapter 3: Celebration and Longing: Robert Browning and the Nonhuman World

Ashton Nichols, Dickinson College

Chapter 4: "Truth to Nature": The Pleasures and Dangers of the Environment in

Christina Rossetti’s Poetry

Serena Trowbridge, Birmingham City University

Chapter 5: The Zoocentric Ecology of Hardy’s Poetic Consciousness

Christine Roth, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh

Chapter 6: Early Dickens and Ecocriticism: The Social Novelist and the Nonhuman

Troy Boone, University of Pittsburgh

Chapter 7: Bleak Intra-Actions: Dickens, Turbulence, Material Ecology

John Parham, University of Worcester

Chapter 8: Dark Nature: A Critical Return to Brontë Country

Deirdre d’Albertis, Bard College

Chapter 9: Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty: Reframing the Pastoral Tradition

Erin Bistline, Texas Tech University

Chapter 10: The Environmental Politics and Aesthetics of Rider Haggard’s King

Solomon’s Mines: Capital, Mourning and Desire

John Miller, University of Sheffield

Chapter 11: Jane Loudon’s Wildflowers, Popular Science, and the Victorian

Culture of Knowledge

Mary Ellen Bellanca, University of South Carolina Sumter

Chapter 12: Falling in Love with Seaweeds: The Seaside Environments of George

Eliot and G.H. Lewes

Anna Feuerstein, University of Hawai’i at Manoa

Chapter 13: Agriculture and Ecology in Richard Jefferies’s Hodge and His Masters

Ronald D. Morrison, Morehead State University

Chapter 14: Edward Carpenter, Henry Salt, and the Animal Limits of Victorian Environments

Jed Mayer, SUNY at New Paltz

Sources for Further Study

Editors and Contributors


About the Editors

Laurence W. Mazzeno is President Emeritus at Alvernia University, USA.

Ronald D. Morrison is Professor of English at Morehead State University, USA.

About the Series

Among the Victorians and Modernists

Among the Victorians and Modernists

This series publishes monographs and essay collections on literature, art, and culture in the context of the diverse aesthetic, political, social, technological, and scientific innovations that arose among the Victorians and Modernists. Viable topics include, but are not limited to, artistic and cultural debates and movements; influential figures and communities; and agitations and developments regarding subjects such as animals, commodification, decadence, degeneracy, democracy, desire, ecology, gender, nationalism, the paranormal, performance, public art, sex, socialism, spiritualities, transnationalism, and the urban. Studies that address continuities between the Victorians and Modernists are welcome. Work on recent responses to the periods such as NeoVictorian novels, graphic novels, and film will also be considered.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LITERARY CRITICISM / Modern / 19th Century
LITERARY CRITICISM / Subjects & Themes / Nature