What is an ecologically imaginative text?

"What is so wonderful about great literature is that it transforms the man who reads it towards the condition of the man who wrote, and brings to birth in us also the creative impulse."

E. M. Forster

book ag

Human history is implicated in natural history

1. The non-human environment is present not merely as a framing device but as a presence that begins to suggest that human history is implicated in natural history.

H. Melville, Moby Dick

E. M. Forster’s, Passage to India

W. Faulkner’s, The Bear

Sound and the Fury

Peter Mathiessen, Killing Mr. Watson

Marjorie K. Rawlin’s, The Yearling

• Legitimizes non-human interests

2. The human interest is not understood to be the only legitimate interest.

Aldo Leopold’s, "Thinking Like Mountain."

Annie Dillard’s, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek


line• Human accountability is to nature

3. Human accountability to the environment is part of the text’s ethical orientation.

Aldo Leopold’s,

"Extension of Ethics"

Karel Chapek’s,

The War with the Newts


• Ecological processes are primarily dynamic

4. Some sense of the environment as a process rather than a given is at least implicit in the text.

Terry Tempest Williams', An Unspoken Hunger

Michael Crichton’s, The Andromeda Strain

Kurt Vonnegut’s, Galapagos or Cat’s Cradle

Walt Whitman's, Leaves of Grass

Adapted from (Lawrence Buell, The Environmental Imagination,)

By Dr. J. Siry;

Cross-disciplinary issues in Ecological Criticism and literary criticism


What is literature?

Elizabeth Bishop [i] –the poetry of places.

Robert Frost       Recitation [ii] as a way of knowing words & their meaning – Orson Welles


Expressing doubt in writing. Wahsington Irving, Sleepy Hollow

 Capturing a sense of loss in writing. Joyce Carol Oates, Against Nature



Is Film an art as literature or drama is an art form? Hemingway, Big Two Hearted River


Tom Stoppard, Arcadia (a play)

 Tom Stoppard, Arcadia (a play)

Faulkner's The Bear  

 Coming of Age in the rural South: Faulkner & Dubois' Black Folk.


 William Faulkner, The Bear


Thoreau, Faith in a Seed



The New American voice http://web.rollins.edu/~jsiry/whitman.html

 Walt Whitman Leaves of Grass, Song of Myself –“creeds in abeyance”


 Discovering sources of great literary expression: Ogden Nash poems


Terry Tempest Williams, The Open Space of Democracy, pp. 1-107.

 A contemporary challenge: describing what we’ve tainted- Ground Truthing

The Open Space of Democracy, ENGAGEMENT


 The IRONY of bourgeois reality: excerpts Rachel Carson's, Silent Spring


Last Updated on 9/20/2004, 6-12-2011, 09/18/2012. 5 September, 2015

By Joseph Siry

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