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Ecology and the Literature of the British Left: The Red and the Green
Ashgate Publishing, September 2012, Pages: 270
Premised on the belief that a social and an ecological agenda are compatible, this collection offers readings in the ecology of left and radical writing from the Romantic period to the present. While early ecocriticism tended to elide the bitter divisions within and between societies, recent practitioners of ecofeminism, environmental justice, and social ecology have argued that the social, the economic and the environmental have to be seen as part of the same process.
Taking up this challenge, the contributors trace the origins of an environmental sensibility and of the modern left to their roots in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, charting the ways in which the literary imagination responds to the political, industrial and agrarian revolutions. Topics include Samuel Taylor Coleridge's credentials as a green writer, the interaction between John Ruskin's religious and political ideas and his changing view of nature, William Morris and the Garden City movement, H. G. Wells and the Fabians, the devastated landscapes in the poetry and fiction of the First World War, and the leftist pastoral poetry of the 1930s. In historicizing and connecting environmentally sensitive literature with socialist thought, these essays explore the interactive vision of nature and society in the work of writers ranging from William Wordsworth and John Clare to John Berger and John Burnside.
- Introduction: the Red and the Green, H. Gustav Klaus and John Rignall
- Contemporary ecocriticism between Red and Green, Richard Kerridge
- Was Coleridge Green?, Seamus Perry
- ‘Wastes of corn’: changes in rural land use in Wordsworth’s early poetry, Helena Kelly
- John Clare’s weeds, Mina Gorji
- John Clare &… &… &… Deleuze and Guattari’s rhizome, Simon Kövesi
- Graeco-Roman pastoral and social class in Arthur Hugh Clough’s Bothie and Thomas Hardy’s Under the Greenwood Tree, Stephen Harrison
- Landscape, labour and history in later 19th-century writing, John Rignall
- Fallen nature: Ruskin’s political apocalypse, Dinah Birch
- William Morris and the Garden City, Anna Vaninskaya
- H.G. Wells, Fabianism and the ‘shape of things to come’, John Sloan
- Guardianship and fellowship: radicalism and the ecological imagination 1880–1940, William Greenslade
- Felled trees – fallen soldiers, H. Gustav Klaus
- Marxist cricket? Some versions of pastoral in the poetry of the 30s, Valentine Cunningham
- Eco-anarchism, the New Left and Romanticism, James Radcliffe
- A huge lacuna vis-à-vis the peasants: Red and Green in John Berger’s trilogy Into Their Labours, Christian Schmitt-Kilb
- Green links: ecosocialism and contemporary Scottish writing, Graeme Macdonald
John Rignall is Emeritus Reader in English and Comparative Literary Studies at the University of Warwick. H. Gustav Klaus is Emeritus Professor of the Literature of the British Isles at the University of Rostock. Valentine Cunningham is Professor of English Literature at Oxford and Fellow and Tutor in English at Corpus Christi College.