Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies : Fences, Boundaries, and Fields
In Ecocritical Explorations, Patrick D. Murphy explores environmental literature and environmental cultural issues through both theoretical and applied criticism. He engages with the concepts of referentiality, simplicity, the nation state, and virtual reality in the first section of the book, and then goes on to interrogate these issues in contemporary environmental literature, both American and international. He concludes his argument with a discussion of the larger frames of family dynamics and un-natural disasters, such as hurricanes and global warming, ending with a chapter on the integration of scholarship and pedagogy in the classroom, with reference to his own teaching experiences. Murphy's study provides a wide ranging discussion of contemporary literature and cultural phenomena through the lens of ecological literary criticism, giving attention to both theoretical issues and applied critiques. In particular, he looks at popular literary genres, such as mystery and science fiction, as well as actual disasters and disaster scenarios. Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies is a timely contribution to ecological literary criticism and an insightful look into how we represent our relationship with the environment.
- Electronic book text | 230 pages
- 01 Dec 2009
- Lexington Books
- MD, United States
About Patrick D Murphy
Patrick D. Murphy is professor of English at the University of Central Florida.
This a necessary, updated record of the study of literature and the environment and the concomitant exigencies of reconsidering how humans inhabit the earth. Highly recommended..... This book is truly international in scope and substantively addresses a number of the major concerns facing ecocriticism today: the role of language and other representations (including virtual reality) in mediating our relationships with the world aroundus; the potential of popular literature (especially SF) to promote environmentally responsible thinking and behavior; the ways literary and cultural critics can productively respond to natural disasters and the other material effects of environmental degradation; and the importance of rethinking our pedagogical practices as well as our texts when we teach environmentally-themed courses. By interweaving his own experiences as a father, teacher, and resident of Florida into his literary and cultural analyses, Murphy also bridges the divide between the personal and the critical and brings added relevance to the issues he discusses. As I read this book, my mind was racing with the implications for my own work and teaching. I came away with a treasure-trove of exciting books to read, a new insight into the reading practices of my students, and a renewed appreciation for the power of a theoretically-informed yet personally grounded ecocriticism to illuminate not only the environmental themes of literature b--Karla Armbruster No ecocritic is better or more widely read than Patrick Murphy. The chapters are a pleasure to read because one has a sense of being guided through literature that should always be on one's radar. The analysis is satisfying and deeply thoughtful, but bestof all, this analysis is done with a wonderful sense of irony and humor.... This book will take its place among the most important publications in the field of environmental literary studies....--Joni Adamson Theoretically sophisticated yet refreshingly readable, this wide-ranging study of contemporary, mainly genre-based fiction (sci-fi, mystery, crime, pseudo-documentary) makes an important addition to previous writing on the contribution of literature to environmental education. Murphy's sympathetic but critical evaluation of the literary treatment of the simple life, urban development, nanotechnology, hurricanes, and other less predictable themes such as father-daughter relationships, not least in young adult fiction, is as innovative as his arguments for the potential of simulated and mediated experience to enhance environmental awareness and his advocacy of an allonational approach, replacing the nation state with smaller and larger units sharing vital environmental interests. The revelation of sometimes surprising subtleties and complexities will make encouraging and stimulating reading for all teachers of environmental literature. Murphy's book is a thoughtfully constructive engagement with the sobering critique of contemporary arrogance and the inspiring glimpses of alternatives present in contemporary American nature-oriented writing.--Axel Goodbody, professor of German studies and European culture, University of Bath