A Century of Early Ecocriticism

Edited by David Mazel

Historical background to the current fascination with "green" literature


"David Mazel effectively challenges the impression that ecocritical approaches are of recent vintage, and succeeds admirably in his attempt to provide a 'usable past' for practicing ecocritics."
—Michael P. Branch, Mississippi Quarterly

"Mazel brings together influential scholars and nature writers from 1864 to 1964 whose ideas led to the now burgeoning academic field of ecocriticism. Mazel supplements these essays, written by authors such as D.H. Lawrence, Mary Woolley and Mark Van Doren, with informative and entertaining biographical information. With questions ranging from 'What does the wilderness have to teach us?' to 'How did animal stories help pave the way for animal rights?' this book clarifies humanity's constantly evolving relationship with nature."
E: The Environmental Magazine

In the 1970s the relationship between literature and the environment emerged as a topic of serious and widespread interest among writers and scholars. The ideas, debates, and texts that grew out of this period subsequently converged and consolidated into the field now known as ecocriticism.

A Century of Early Ecocriticism looks behind these recent developments to a prior generation's ecocritical inclinations. Written between 1864 and 1964, these thirty-four selections include scholars writing about the “green” aspects of literature as well as nature writers reflecting on the genre.

In his introduction, David Mazel argues that these early “ecocritics” played a crucial role in both the development of environmentalism and the academic study of American literature and culture. Filled with provocative, still timely ideas, A Century of Early Ecocriticism demonstrates that our concern with the natural world has long informed our approach to literature.

Page count: 384 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9


List price: $30.95

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David Mazel is an assistant professor of English at Adams State College in Alamosa, Colorado. He is the author of American Literary Environmentalism (Georgia) and editor of Mountaineering Women: Stories by Early Climbers.