Date of Graduation
This dissertation examines twentieth-century British fiction concerned with humankind's interactions with the nonhuman world. I analyze a range of literary works, including H. G. Wells's The Food of the Gods (1903), D. H. Lawrence's The Rainbow (1915), Women in Love (1920), and Lady Chatterley's Lover (1928), John Brunner's Stand on Zanzibar (1968), Graham Swift's Waterland (1983), and J. G. Ballard's Rushing to Paradise (1994). This body of literature remains largely unexamined for its treatments of ecological issues and belongs to a national history deeply implicated in local and global environmental change. Moreover, my consideration of this literary tradition marks a departure from early models of ecocriticism that have focused predominantly on U.S. nonfiction and traditional realism. Imagining an alternative to antiecological forms of global capitalism, I suggest, requires a more inclusive mode of ecological literary criticism that attends to speculative, postmodern, and satiric fiction as well as realist fiction. In developing a literary history of British environmental thought, I part ways with ecocritics who reject â€œtheoryâ€ for its supposed abstraction and draw from the insights of science studies, ecological science, and poststructuralist and postmodern philosophy. I employ this interdisciplinary approach to trace competing and oftentimes contradictory pastoral and imperial attitudes toward nature in British literature. These conflicted impulses are fundamentally informed by a long history of viewing colonial environments both as realms of idyllic bliss and as resource wells to be exploited for profit. The divergent views of nature characteristic of the British environmental imagination, I conclude, reflect the limitations of the various discoursesâ€”scientific, philosophical, and economicâ€”that seek to explain complex relations between human populations and the nonhuman world.
Bukeavich, Neal, "Fictions of nature: Ecology, science, and culture in twentieth -century British literature." (2003). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 8546.