The burgeoning field of ecocriticism is beginning to address the work of such ecopoets as Gary Snyder, Mary Oliver, W. S. Merwin, and Wendell Berry, among others, whose poems increasingly deal with ecological and environmental issues. Ecopoetry: A Critical Introduction assembles previously unpublished contributions from many of the most important scholars in the field as they discuss the historical and crosscultural roots of ecopoetry, while expanding the boundaries to include such themes as genocide and extinction, the lesbian body, and post colonialism. This volume gathers these necessary voices in the emerging conversation regarding poetry’s place in the environmental debate.
Bringing psychoanalysis to bear on the diagnosis of ecological crisis
Why has psychoanalysis long been kept at the margins of environmental criticism despite the many theories of eco-Marxism, queer ecology, and eco-deconstruction available today? What is unique, possibly even traumatic, about eco-psychoanalysis? The Environmental Unconscious addresses these questions as it provides an innovative and theoretical account of environmental loss focused on the counterintuitive forms of enjoyment that early modern poetry and psychoanalysis jointly theorize.
Steven Swarbrick urges literary critics and environmental scholars fluent in the new materialism to rethink notions of entanglement, animacy, and consciousness raising. He introduces concepts from psychoanalysis as keys to understanding the force of early modern ecopoetics. Through close readings of Edmund Spenser, Walter Ralegh, Andrew Marvell, and John Milton, he reveals a world of matter that is not merely hyperconnected, as in the new materialism, but porous and off-kilter. And yet the loss these poets reveal is central to the enjoyment their works offer—and that nature offers.
As insightful as it is engaging, The Environmental Unconscious offers a provocative challenge to ecocriticism that, under the current regime of fossil capitalism in which everything solid interconnects, a new theory of disconnection is desperately needed. Tracing the propulsive force of the environmental unconscious from the early modern period to Freudian and post-Freudian theories of desire, Swarbrick not only puts nature on the couch in this book but also renews the psychoanalytic toolkit in light of environmental collapse.
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