English 232 -- "'Ecocriticism - Valuing Early Modern 'Nature'"
Winter 2019 (Th 3-4.50)
Old and new values associated with natural entities and systems, with human and non-human others, sometimes overlapped and sometimes collided in the long eighteenth century (1650-1800). Our readings and discussions will examine how these differing values were laminated across and throughout Anglophone literature and culture.
The early modern texts we'll be reading together raise issues that also resonate in the 21st century -- from colonial biopiracy to domestic pet-making, from contested wasteland 'reclamation' to the English Garden aesthetic, from local debates over rights of common and enclosure to plantation-slavery management models, from anthropocentrist 'natural capital' to imagined scenarios of entanglement and strange agencies that decenter 'value' altogether. Genres include prose fictions, travel narratives, long poems, natural histories, with secondary reading in recent ecocriticism and ecophilosophy.