Ecological Form

Ecological Form : System and Aesthetics in the Age of Empire

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Afterword by  , Contributions by  , Contributions by  , Contributions by  , Contributions by  , Contributions by  , Contributions by  , Contributions by 

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Ecological Form brings together leading voices in nineteenth-century ecocriticism to suture the lingering divide between postcolonial and ecocritical approaches. Together, these essays show how Victorian thinkers used aesthetic form to engage problems of system, interconnection, and dispossession that remain our own. The authors reconsider Victorian literary structures in light of environmental catastrophe; coordinate "natural" questions with sociopolitical ones; and underscore the category of form as a means for generating environmental-and therefore political-knowledge. Moving from the elegy and the industrial novel to the utopian romance, the scientific treatise, and beyond, Ecological Form demonstrates how nineteenth-century thinkers conceptualized the circuits of extraction and violence linking Britain to its global network. Yet the book's most pressing argument is that this past thought can be a resource for reimagining the present.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 256 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 19.05mm | 539.77g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 6
  • 0823282120
  • 9780823282128

Table of contents

Introduction: Ecological Formalism; or, Love among the Ruins

Nathan K. Hensley and Philip Steer, 1

Part I Method

1. Drama, Ecology, and the Ground of Empire: The Play of Indigo

Sukanya Banerjee, 21

2. Mourning Species: In Memoriam in an Age of Extinction

Jesse Oak Taylor, 42

3. Signatures of the Carboniferous: The Literary Forms of Coal

Nathan K. Hensley and Philip Steer, 63

Part II Form

4. Fixed Capital and the Flow: Water Power, Steam Power, and The Mill on the Floss

Elizabeth Carolyn Miller, 85

5. "Form Against Force": Sustainability and Organicism in the Work of John Ruskin

Deanna K. Kreisel, 101

6. Mapping the "Invisible Region, Far Away" in Dombey and Son

Adam Grener, 121

Part III Scale

7. How We Might Live: Utopian Ecology in William Morris and Samuel Butler

Benjamin Morgan, 139

8. From Specimen to System: Botanical Scale and the Environmental Sublime in Joseph Dalton Hooker's Himalayas

Lynn Voskuil, 161

9. "Infi nitesimal Lives": Thomas Hardy's Scale Effects

Aaron Rosenberg, 182

Part IV Futures

10. Electric Dialectics: Delany's Atlantic Materialism

Monique Allewaert, 203

11. Satire's Ecology

Teresa Shewry, 223

Afterword: They Would Have Ended by Burning Their Own Globe

Karen Pinkus, 241

Acknowledgments 249

List of Contributors 251

Index 253
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Review quote

This invaluable collection of essays, edited with a marvelous introduction by Philip Steer and Nathan K. Hensley, urges us to reconsider a diverse array of (mostly) nineteenth-century texts in light of the global environmental crisis often known as the "Anthropocene." ...[A]ll of the essays, in different ways, examine their chosen texts not so much for their overt environmental content or thematics...but for the ways in which that sense of unfolding catastrophe posed profound representational challenges and demanded new ways of organizing and representing human experience.---Allen MacDuffie, author of Victorian Literature, Energy, and the Ecological Imagination, in Nineteenth-Century Literature,
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About Karen Pinkus

Karen Pinkus (Afterword By)

Karen Pinkus is Professor of Italian and Comparative Literature at Cornell University. She is the author of Fuel: A Speculative Dictionary (2016), Alchemical Mercury: A Theory of Ambivalence (2009), The Montesi Scandal: The Death of Wilma Montesi and the Birth of the Paparazzi in Fellini's Rome (2003), Picturing Silence: Emblem, Language, Counter- Reformation Materiality (1996), and Bodily Regimes: Italian Advertising Under Fascism (1995).

Nathan K. Hensley (Edited By)

Nathan K. Hensley is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University. He is the author of Forms of Empire: The Poetics of Victorian Sovereignty (2016).

Philip Steer (Edited By)

Philip Steer is Senior Lecturer in English at Massey University. His current book project is "Borders of Britishness: The Novel and Political Economy in the Victorian Settler Empire."
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