Unformatted text preview: The Ecocriticism Reader Bffi LANDMARKS IN LITERARY ECOLOGY Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm I THE UNIVERSITY OF GEORGIA PRESS I ATHENS AND LONDON I @ t996 by the University of Georgia Press
Athens, Georgia lo6oz
"Some Principles of Ecocriticism" @ tggS by \Tilliam Howarth
"The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction" @ 1986 by Ursula K. Le Guin All rights CONTENTS Itr reserved Designed by Kathi Dailey Morgan
Set in Sabon and Gills Sans by Tseng Information Systems, Inc. This book is printed on recycled PaPer that meets the
guidelines for permanence and durability of the Committee on
Production Guidelines for Book Longevity of the Council on Library Resources. Preface ix
Acknowledgments xi Printed in the United States of America 96
Introduction: Literary Studies in an Age of Environmental Crisis 979899ooc543z,
oJ040506P8765 CHERYLL GLOTFELTY Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
The ecocriticism reader : landmarks in literary ecology
Cheryll Glotfelty, ed., Harold Fromm, ed.
Includes bibliographical references and index. f rssN o-82o3-r78o-z (alk. paper). - lsrN o-82o3-r78r-o
(pbk. : alk. paper) r. Criticism. z. Ecology in literature. 3. Nature in literature.
I. Glotfelty, Cheryll. II. Fromm, Harold. nN8r.Ez4 8or'95-dczo 1996
95-1i-150 pARr oNE Ecotheory: Reflections on Nature and Culture
3 The Historical Roots of Our Ecologic Crisis LYNN WHITE, JR.
r5 Nature and Silence
CHRISTOPHER MANES British Library Cataloging in Publication Data available
Text illustrations by Susan Nees 30 From Transcendence to Obsolescence: A Route
4o Cultivating the American Garden
FREDERICK TURNER Mrp Yi I CONTENTS CONTENTS . vii 52 170 The Uses of Landscape: The Picturesque Aesthetic and
the National Park System
ALISON BYERLY Unearthing Herstory: An Introduction
ANNETTE KOLODNY , 69 " Tl'J :; Tf '"': i::'; :.''," x8z
Speaking a Word for Nature
SCOTT RUSSELL SANDERS rg6
Beyond Ecology: Self, Place, and the Pathetic Fallacy
NEIL EVERNDEN The Postnatural Novel: Toxic Consciousness in Fiction of the rggos r05 Is Nature Necessary? Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism
WTLLIAM RUECKERT DANA PHILLIPS CYNTHIA DEITERING
2o4 pARr rHREE critical Studies of Environmental
The Land and Language of Desire: !7here Deep Ecology
and Post-Structuralism Meet 225 SUEELLEN CAMPBELL Revaluing Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism
GLEN A. LOVE 47
American Liter ary Environmental ism as Dome stic
DAVTD MAZEL pARr rwo O rientalism Ecocritical Considerations of Fiction and Drama 24r
The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary perspective
PAULA GUNN ALLEN
Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination
LESLIE MARMON SILKO The Carri., r"gtfheory of Fiction
URSULA K. LE GUIN 276 r55 A Taxonomy of Nature'S7riting
THOMAS J. LYON The Comic Mode
JOSEPH W. MEEKER z8z Indexing American Possibilities: The Natural History rilTriting
of Bartram,'Wilson, and Audubon
M I(;llAI..1. l]RANCII Yiii I CONTENTS 303 Desertsolitaire:Counter-FrictiontotheMachineintheGarden
DON SCHEESE PREFACE rrl 3L3 to the American Landscape
Heroines of Nature: Four \romen Respond
VERA L. NORWOOD
35L Nature Writing and Environmental Psychology:
The Interiority of Outdoor Experience
37r The Bakhtinian Road to Ecological Insight MICHAEL J. MCDOWELL
RecommendedReading 393 periodicals and Professional Organizations 4or Contributors 4oj Index 4o9 One day late in the r98os an unsolicited packet arrived in the mail that
*r, ,rii.ally to alter my professional life as a literary scholar-critic and
to have repercussions in my private life as well. The contents consisted
of a form i.tt., and bibliography from a Cornell graduate student in English named Cheryll Burgess. She was finishing up a dissertation on three
American women writers, but her most intense interest seemed to be the
anything-but-apparent connection between literature and the environment.
Her pl""s were ambitious, not to say grandiose: to Pursue an interest in
.cology while remaining a literary professional, to promulgate the concePtion of "ecocriticism" while producing an anthology of ecocritical essays,
and formally to become the first American professor of literature and the
The bibliography contained more than two hundred essays and books
that bore some relation to the idea of ecocriticism, but even more useful
was the potential mailing list it provided of authors who might be of some
assistance in producing the ecocritical anthology.'til(riting to most of them,
Cheryll Burgess described her aims, included a coPy of the bibliography,
and waited for replies-which soon began to Pour in. One result of this
large-scale operatircn was that I found myself agreeing to serve as chief as,irlnt, although not without some unease that with most of the hard and
creative work already done I would emerge in the role of an unearned beneficiary of someone else's groundbreaking labors. Although I have helped
t, make some decisions and discovered a number of essays to include, this
preface gives me the opportunity to disclaim maior status.
As tlrilgs turned out, much more than Cheryll Burgess Glotfelty's origiIr:rl rtinrs lrrtvc becrt realiz.cd. She has in fact promulgated an awareness
lx PREFACE of ecocriticism (a term often credited to the essay we have included by
'STilliam H. Rueckert), she has produced her anthology, and (believe it or
not) she has indeed become, as far as we know, the first academic whose
appointment includes "literature and the environment" in its title. Furthermore, my own ecological consciousness, which was very great to start
h^ b..r, raised L.yo.d anything I could have imagined, because the ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
IIT with, present enterprise changed the direction of my Personal and professional
iir., by fusing together what had previously been disparate and unrelated activities in literature and in ecology. Professor Glotfelty's substantial
influence in the ecological/nature-writing wing of American Studies
touched a large number of other
ference papers, networking activities, and the original bibliography'
by her d.di."tion, I organized andchaired the first session
to be offered at the Modern Language Association convention (in r99t), a
remarkably well-attended event, at which we discovered the large number
ecocritics that we knew nothing about, many of them starved of practicing
In all, i"- h"ppy to own up to my pleasure and my debt in having been
a part of this fertile enterprise
Harold Fromm A researcher friend in physics once said that if you want to know how long
it will take to complete a project, you must multiply the time you think it
will take by rwo and then raise the answer to the next higher order of magnitude. One indication that the so-called gap berween the sciences and the
humanities is indeed bridgeable is that the formula that describes experimental physics also obtained in editing this anthology, which has taken not
three months but six years to produce.
As the years have stretched on, the number of people who have offered
help and encouragement has increased exponentially. It is a privilege to
thank them here and to acknowledge our indebtedness for their friendship,
advice, and support. For early belief in this book and for their steadfast
backing, we owe a great deal to Jean Frantz Blackall, IilTilliam Howarth,
and Glen Love. A four-year Jacob Javits fellowship allowed Cheryll to
begin this book while still in graduate school. For their enthusiasm and
generosity we would like to thank each of the contributing authors and, in
addition, James Applewhite, Lawrence Buell, Del Ivan Janik, Leo Marx,
ames C. McKusick, Patrick D. Murphy,Val Plumwood, Ann Ronald, Peter
Schwenger, Patricia Clark Smith, Denys Trussell, and Frederick'Waage.
For their assistance in compiling the list of recommended reading, "virtual" thanks goes to members of the e-mail network for the Association
firr the Study of Literature and Environment, most especially to Stephen
Aclams, Karla Armbruster, Jonathan Bate, Ruth Blair, Michael Branch,
Lawrence Buell, SueEllen Campbell, Tom Dean, Jim Dwyer, Sara Farris,
.f lrarr Hochman, Mary.fenkins, Michael Kowalewski, Glen Love, Ralph
l,rrtts, I)an Nolantl, Serrn ()'Orirdy, Daniel Patterson, Steve Phelan, Daniel
l)hilipporr, l)i;lnc ()rrrrrtic, lrliz.rrbcth llaymond, Stephanie Sarver, Tom xii I ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Scanlan, Jim Stebbings, Philip Terrie, Paul Tidwell, H. Lewis Ulman,
Kathleen'V7allace, Louise'Westling, and David \Tilliams.
The members of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment have given us a welcome sense of community, leavening the work with
a good deal of fun. Best wishes to Lorraine Anderson, Ralph Black, Paul
Bryant, Lawrence Buell, SueEllen Campbell, Carol Cantrell, John Calderazzo, Michael P. and Valerie Cohen, Chris Cokinos, Nancy Cook, Terrell Dixon, Elizabeth Dodd, Jim Dwyer, john Elder, Greta Gaard, Michael
Hood, \Tilliam Howarth, Mark Hoyer, Verne Huser, Zita Ingham, Rochelle Johnson, Glen Love, Tom Lyon, Ian Marshall, Thomas Meyers,
David Morris, Michael Munley, Molly Murfee, Patrick Murphy, Alicia
Nitecki, Daniel Patterson, Daniel Philippon, Anne Phillips, Michele Potter,
Lawie Ricou, David Robertson, Ann Ronald, Susan Rosowski, Suzanne
Ross, Kent Ryden, Don Scheese, Mark Schlenz, Matthias Schubnell, Julie
Seton, Gary Snyder, Lisa Spaulding, Ron Steffens, Tom Stuckert, Stan Tag, David Taylor, David Teague, Mikel Vause, Allison'Wallace, and Louise
Westling. Special praise and affection go to Mike Branch, Sean O'Grady,
and Scott Slovic.
At the University of Nevada, Reno, Cheryll would like to thank her colleagues for their friendship and support. Stacy Burton and Mary Webb
have been particularly wonderful. Sincere thanks are due to Dean of Arts
and Sciences Ann Ronald for bold vision and for making things happen,
to Robert Merrill for his editorial acumen and dedication to the English
Department he chairs, and to secretaries Linda Gorelangton and Geri
McVeigh, who make otrr academic lives not only possible but pleasant.
Cheryll would like to acknowledge the students in her Spring r99r graduate
seminar, "Ecocriticism: Literary Criticism and Ecological Consciousness,"
as well as the graduate students she currently advises, all of whom bring
her great intellectual treasures.
Finally, we send love to our family and friends, who make life a ioy.
Loren, Evelyn, and Stan Acton, Eileen Pape, Laura Koeninger, Gretchen
Diether, and Elizabeth Doherty-warmest thanks to you all. Gloria Fromm
and Steve Glotfehy, you are always in our hearts and in our lives. r r r Jhs authors and the Press gratefully acknowledge permission to reprint the following pieces:
Paula Gunn Allen, "The Sacred Hoop: A Contemporary Perspective." Fr<tm Thc
Sacred Hoop: Recouering the Peminine in American Indian T'raditirttr.s by l)aula ACKNOWLEDGMENTS r xiii Gunn Allen. @ ry86, ry92 by Paula Gunn Allen. Reprinted by permission of
Beacon Press. SueEllen campbell, "The Land and Language of Desire: '$7here Deep Ecology and Post-Structuralism Meet." From 'Western American Literature 24.3 (November
ry89): r99-zn. Reprinted by permission of 'Western American Literature and the author. oynthia Deitering, "The Postnatural Novel: Toxic Consciousness in Fiction of the
r98os." From Praxis 4 $992): 2916. Reprinted by permission of praxis and the
author. Neil Evernden, "Beyond Ecology: Self, place, and the pathetic Fallacy.,,From North
American Reuiew 263.4 (Winter ry78): 16-zo. Reprinted by permission of North
American Reuiew and the author.
I larold Fromm, "From Transcendence to obsolescence: A Route Mrp.,' From the
Georgia Reuiew 3z (Fallry78): s43-sz. Reprinted by permission of the Georgia
lleuiew and the author. Annctte Kolodny, "Unearthing Herstory: An Introduction,, and excerpts from
"Making it with Paradise: The Twentieth Century, Some Thoughts for Our
Biccrrtennial." From The Lay of the Land: Metaphor as Experience and History in
American Life and Letters by Annette Kolodny. @
ryg4 by the universiry of
North Carolina Press. Reprinted by permission of the Universiry of North Carolinu Press and the author.
K. Le Guin, "The Carrier Bag Theory of Fiction." From Dancing at the Edge
tl thc V/orld: Thoughts on Words,.Women, places. @ ryg6 by Ursula K. Le Guin.
l(t'printed by permission of Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
'lt'tr A. I-ove, "Revaluing Nature: Toward an Ecological Criticism." From
/ltntrican Literature 25.3 (November ry9o):2or-r5. Reprinted by permission of
Wr'stcrn American Literature and the author.
I l rr rr r rrrs .f . Lyon, "A Taxonomy of Nature rJfriting." From This Incomperable
rl lilxtk of American Nature 'writing edited by Thomas J. Lyon. @ ryg9 by
.f . Lyon. Reprinted by permission of Houghton Mifflin Company.
( lrr istrrlrhcr Manes, "Nature and Silence." From Enuironmental Ethicsi4
I lrsrrlrr t')')r): 319-5o.Reprinted ffiinter by permission of Enuironmental Ethics and the author.
, rsr'1rlr w. Meeker, "The comic Mode." From
The comedy of suruiual: studies in
Ltt(rdry l;,cology by Joseph'!7. Meeker. New york: Scribner,s, 197.-. @ 1972,
| ()'' i, r 97 4 by.].seph \ff. Meeker. Reprinted by
permission of the author.
Vt'r.r l . Norwood, "Hert)ines of Nature: Four'Women Respond to the American
I .rrrtlst:rPt'." lrr..r l;.nuironmental Reuiew g.r (Spring
ryg4): 34-56. @ ryg4by
lltc Arrrt'r'it'rttt Socicty for linvironmental History. Reprinted by permission of I n tttt ttntttt,tttd lltt,ictt,. l),rrr,r l'lrrlliPs, "ls Nrrrrrrt'Nt'ct.ssrrry?" lrrorn Raritan r j.j (winterrg%)[email protected]
litn,ttnt,lr Mrrrt'St., Nr.w llrrnrswick, Nt.w.ft'rscy, ollgoJ. Ileprintccl by permis- ',trrtt rrl litlt tltltt. xiv r ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
CHERYLL GLOTFELTY From
William Rueckert, "Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism."
the lowa Reuiew g.r (\winte r ry78)z 7v86. Reprinted
Reuiew and the author. lntroduction the Uni'
Scott Russell Sanders, "speaking a'Word for Nature." From Secrets of
uerse by Scott Russell Sanders . @ ry9r by Scott
permission of Beacon Press.
Don Schee se, "Desert Solitaire: Counter-Friction to the Machine in the Garden'"
From North Dakota Quarterly 59.2 (Springrygt)z zI1.-27. Reprinted by permis- IIT
LITERARY STUDIES IN AN
AGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL CRISIS sion of North Dakota Quarterly and the author' From
Leslie Marmon Silko, "Landscape, History, and the Pueblo Imagination."
Antaeus 57 (Autumn 1986): [email protected]
by permission of the author, her agent Sara Chalsant, and Wylie, Aitken and
Scott Slovic, "Nature'Writing and Environmental Psychology: The Interiority
American Nature Writing:
dell Berry, and Barry Lopez. @ r99z by the University of Utah Press' Used by
permission of the University of Utah Press'
Frederick Turner, "Cultivating the American Garden." From Rebirth of
ry9r by the State
University of New York Press.
Lynn l;/hite, Jr., "The Historical Roots of our Ecologic crisis." From science
155.3767 (ro March ry6): rzoS-7. o AAAS. Reprinted by permission American Association for the Advancement of Science' I rtt'r'rrry studies in our postmodern age exist in a state of constant flux.
l;r,t'r'/ few years, it seems, the profession of English must "redraw the
lxrrrrrrlirries" to "remap" the rapidly changing contours of the field. One
('nt, authoritative guide to contemporary literary studies contains a full
t\\/('nty-one essays on different methodological or theoretical approaches
r ('( t, r t riticism. Its introduction observes: I rtt'rrrry studies in English are in a period of rapid and sometimes disori.rrring change. . . . Just as none of the critical approaches that antedate this
pcriorl, from psychological and Marxist criticism to reader-response theory
.rrr.l c'rrltural criticism, has remained stable, so none of the historical fields
.rrr,l srrbficlds that constitute English and American literary studies has been
It'lt rrrrtouched by revisionist energies. . . . [The essays in this volume] dis. k rst' solne of those places where scholarship has responded to contemporary
pr r.rstrrcs.l ( .rrriorrsly enough, in this putatively comprehensive volume on the state
,,1 t lrr' profcssion, there is no essay on an ecological approach to literature. ;\ltlrorrglr scholarship claims to have "responded to contemporary pres..urcs," it h:rs apparently ignored the most pressing contemporary issue of ,rll, rr.rrrrt'ly, tlrc gl<lbal environmental crisis. The absence of any sign of
.ur ('nvrr'ortrtrcntrtl pcrspective in contemporary literary studies would seem Ir' \ul,,l',r'st tlrrrt rlcspitc its "revisionist energies," scholarship remains acatlt'nut rn t ltt' s('ns(' o[ "scltol:trly to tlrc poirrt of being unaware of the outside
rt',,r l.l" lrltrrr,r'tt tttt I lrrtltlit' l)ictirnrury). INTRODUCTION I xvii xvi T CHERYLL GLOTFELTY If your knowledge of the outside world were limited to what you could
infer from the mapr publications of the literary profession, you would
quickly discern that race, class, and gender were the hot topics of the twentieth century, but you would never susPect that the earth's life support
systems were under stress. Indeed, you might never know that
an earth at all. In contrast, if you were to scan the newspaper headlines
the same period, you would learn of oil spills, lead and asbestos poisoning, toxic waste contamination, extinction of species at an unPrecedented
,^t", b^ttles over public land use, Protests over nuclear waste dumps, a
growing hole in thie ozone layer,predictions of global warming, acid
iors of lopsoil, destruction of the tropical rain forest, controversy over
the Spotted Owl in the Pacific Northwest' a wildfire in Yellowstone
medical syringes washing onto the shores of Atlantic beaches, boycotts
'west, illegal dumping in the
on tuna, overrapped aquifers in the
famnuclear reactor dir"rt.r-in Chernobyl, new auto emissions standards,
ines, droughts, floods, hurricanes, a United Nations special conference
environment and development, a u.s.
five bildecade of the environm.-rr,," and a world population that topped
lion. Browsing through periodicals, you would discover that rn
magazine's person of1n. year award went to "The Endangered Earth'"
In view of ,h. discrepancy between current events and the PreoccuPa- retions of the literary prolession, the claim that literary scholarship has
sponded to contemporary Pressures becomes difficult to defend'
,...rrtly there h", L..n no sign that the institution of literary studies has have been
even been aware of the environmental crisis. For instance, there no journals, no jargon, no jobs, no professional societies or discussion regroupr, and no .orrf.r.r.es on literature and the environment''\ilflhile
Iated humanities disciplines, like histor/, philosophy, law, sociology,
religion have been "gieeni.rg" since the r97os, literary studies have apprrl.rtly remained ,rrr1i.,t.d by .n ri.onmental concerns' And while social
liberation movements of the
-ou.r*.rts, like the civil rights and women's
sixties and seventies, have transformed literary studies, it would aPpear that the environmental movement of the same era has had little impact'
But appearances can be deceiving. In actual factras the publication
fo, ,o*. of the essays in this anthology
and cultural scholars have been developing ecologically informed
and theory since the seventies; however, unlike their disciplinary
previously, they did not organiz.e the...
View Full Document