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Subject Literature

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405168908.2010.x


Ecocriticism, also known as literary ecology or environmental literary studies, is a field of criticism that emerged in the late twentieth century as a slightly delayed response in the humanities to the global emergence of the environmental movement in the 1960s and 1970s. Together with environmental philosophy and environmental history, and to some extent studies of place, space, and landscape, it forms the core of what in the early twenty-first century is an emerging cross-disciplinary field of environmental humanities. That spectrum of studies subverts twentieth-century paradigms of discrete liberal arts institutional divisions, in resistance to the growth of more quantitative-based professional and interdisciplinary programs in policy, planning, and environmental sciences. As such, while ecocriticism may seem a bridge between the “two cultures” of academia, it can in some ways also represent an attempted resurgence of a qualitative tradition of liberal arts, based often in an implicit critique of scientific complicity in massive degradation of the world's physical environment during the past two centuries. Lawrence Buell of Harvard, a leading senior scholar in the field, at a 2009 conference on “Environmental Imaginations” at Susquehanna University, defined ecocriticism in general terms as up-ending a traditional quasi-Aristotelian fourfold framework for reading literature (plot, ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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