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REVIEWS Rosendale, Steven, ed. The Greening of Literary Scholarship: Literature, Theory, and the Environment. Iowa City: Univ. of Iowa Press, 2002. xxix + 275 pp. Paper: $19.95. This collection represents a much-needed effort to expand the boundaries ofecocriticism. Rosendale successfully collects thirteen essays that are not only well-written and informative, but that also deal with critical areas relatively unexplored by most works of ecocritical theory. Though several of the essays deal in part with the traditional ecocritical issues concerning the representation of nature and the human impact on the environment, they also examine a number of less studied areas. Collectively, these essays enrich scholarly discussion ofthe relationship between the natural world and literature, often in surprising ways. Beginning the call for an enrichment of ecocritical study, the essays of the first section highlight the need to rethink both the boundaries ofecocriticism and the texts that fall within those boundaries . The first section reexamines the relationship between literary history and nature writing, arguing that attention should be devoted to neglected critical theories and to texts that fall outside of traditional nature writing. As most nature-writing is non-fiction , several of these essays advocate ecocritical study of fictional texts. The first essay in the collection, Michael P. Branch's "Saving all the Pieces: The Place of Textual Editing in Ecocriticism," argues that "a full understanding of the American land and its various literary representations will require that scholars of environmental literature dedicate themselves to the preservation and restoration of the many rare, corrupted, or otherwise 'endangered' texts" (3). Branch's essay opens a new area of ecocritical scholarship that justifiably groups "endangered" manuscripts with the other natural resources that occupy so much traditional ecocritical research. In another essay largely representative of those that form the first section of the book, "In Search of Left Ecology's Usable Past: The Jungle, Social Change, and the Class Character of Environmental Impairment," Rosendale contends that many important texts, especially those from the Left literary tradition, are ignored by ecocritics because of "a mistaken tendency among ecocritics to confuse the complex and necessary project of developing eco-conscious critical values with a simplistic rejection of 'interhuman' concerns like urban social life and class politics" (61). The second section, entitled "Expanding the Subject in 122Reviews Ecocriticism," promotes a more open definition of ecocriticism that incorporates conventional literary theories dealing with race, gender , and ethnicity. These essays advocate an ecocritical approach sensitive to both place and human identity. James Tarter's "Locating the Uranium Mine: Place, Multiethnicity, and Environmental Justice in Leslie Marmon Silko's Ceremony" opens this section by calling for a dual critical approach to both self-identification and the natural world. Tartar argues "that Ceremony provides a model of a sophisticated, simultaneous attention to environmental and multiethnic issues that needs to come to the fore in contemporary ecocriticism" (98). Essays by Andrea Blair and Eleanor Hersey expand this ecocritical concept in terms of gender, while James D. Lilley and Louis H. Palmer, III explore what they argue is a permeable boundary between human identity and the environment. Lilley asks, "What is the nature of the body's interaction with the environment ? Do we reach out from our bodies and fashion our surroundings , or do they encroach upon, penetrate, and mold us? Are we shapers of, or shaped like, clay?" (149). Further expanding the relationship between ecocriticism and traditional theory, the essays of the final section address the sublime , arguing collectively that the philosophical concept ofthe sublime is capable of clarifying problems associated with natural representation. Rick Van Noy's essay, "Surveying the Sublime: Literary Cartographers and the Spirit of Place," meaningfully connects the human experience of place with scientific cartographic representation. Aaron Dunckel's '"Mount Blanc': Shelley's Sublime Allegory of the Real" also calls into question the relationship between sublimity and representation, arguing that literary representation is not simply an exercise in mimesis but also works to create that which is not present in nature. The last essay of the collection, James Kirwan's "Vicarious Edification : Radcliffe and the Sublime," argues that "the barrier that separates us from nature is one that cannot be crossed quite simply because there is nothing...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-5806
Print ISSN
0091-8083
Pages
pp. 121-122
Launched on MUSE
2014-10-01
Open Access
No
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