Ecocriticism and Nineteenth-Century Literature Criticism: English Literature: Romantics And Victorians - Essay

Jonathan Bate (essay date 1991)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Bate, Jonathan. “A Language That Is Ever Green.” In Romantic Ecology: Wordsworth and the Environmental Tradition, pp. 12‐35. New York: Routledge, 1991.

[In the following excerpt, Bate examines William Wordsworth's use of the pastoral, arguing that there is a continuity between the poet's love of nature and his revolutionary politics. Bate also discusses the critical response to Wordsworth's ecological writing.]

During his highly productive residence at Racedown in Dorset and then at Alfoxden in Somerset, Wordsworth worked on ‘The Ruined Cottage’, a poem which Coleridge took to be one of the most beautiful in the language. Over the last twenty years...

(The entire section is 9882 words.)

Robert Pogue Harrison (essay date 1992)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Harrison, Robert Pogue. “London Versus Epping Forest.” In Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, pp. 211‐20. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1992.

[In the following excerpt, Harrison describes the social protest verse of the poet‐laborer John Clare and illuminates his concern about how the private ownership of property was resulting in environmental changes and the loss of freedom in his native English countryside.]

Forests cannot be owned, they can only be wasted by the right to ownership. Forests belong to place—to the placehood of place—and place, in turn, belongs to no one in particular. It is free. Of course nothing can guarantee that a...

(The entire section is 3417 words.)

Karl Kroeber (essay date 1994)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kroeber, Karl. “Discovering Nature's Voice.” In Ecological Literary Criticism: Romantic Imagining and the Biology of Mind, pp. 67‐81. New York: Columbia University Press, 1994.

[In the following excerpt, Kroeber describes the beginnings of ecologically inspired poetry in the work of the English Romantics.]

In the first edition of Lyrical Ballads in 1798 the first poem by Wordsworth is burdened with his longest title, “Lines Left upon a Seat in a Yew‐Tree, which Stands near the Lake of Esthewaite, on a Desolate Part of the Shore, yet Commanding a Beautiful Prospect.” This is followed immediately by his co‐author's “The Nightingale: A...

(The entire section is 5809 words.)

Richard Kerridge (essay date 2001)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Kerridge, Richard. “Ecological Hardy.” In Beyond Nature Writing: Expanding the Boundaries of Ecocriticism, edited by Karla Armbruster and Kathleen R. Wallace, pp. 126‐41. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 2001.

[In the following essay, Kerridge maintains that if Thomas Hardy were seen as an important author in the canon of environmental literature, ecocriticism would become more concerned with individuals and society and less with withdrawing into the wilderness.]

Thomas Hardy is an obvious candidate for the ecocritical canon. The best known of English rural novelists, he is intensely responsive to the natural world and human relations with...

(The entire section is 6449 words.)

Ralph Pite (essay date 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Pite, Ralph. “‘Founded on the Affections’: A Romantic Ecology.” In The Environmental Tradition in English Literature, edited by John Parham, pp. 144‐55. Aldershot, Eng.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2002.

[In the following essay, Pite argues that British Romantic writers, far from being concerned only with solitary experiences, were social writers whose affinity for nature established links between humanity and the environment.]

It is hard to give a single, satisfactory definition of Romanticism and equally difficult to say what unites all the different accounts of ecology. Viewed as a science, ecology is a recognized and established discipline; as a...

(The entire section is 4839 words.)

John Parham (essay date 2002)

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

SOURCE: Parham, John. “Was There a Victorian Ecology?” In The Environmental Tradition in English Literature, edited by John Parham, pp. 156‐71. Aldershot, Eng.: Ashgate Publishing Company, 2002.

[In the following essay, Parham outlines the environmental concerns of Victorian authors and goes on to discuss, from an ecocritical point of view, works of several writers of the period, including Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Matthew Arnold, Thomas Carlyle, and John Ruskin.]

Despite its attempts to re‐write the canon, ecocriticism, to some extent, has only succeeded in creating a canon of its own. The centrality, in the US, of Lawrence Buell's The Environmental...

(The entire section is 6424 words.)