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Selected Works

Ecocriticism

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Articles 1 - 4 of 4

Full-Text Articles in Modern Languages

Nature And The "Dark Pastoral" In Goethe's Werther, Heather I. Sullivan Oct 2016

Nature And The "Dark Pastoral" In Goethe's Werther, Heather I. Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

Celebrating the natural harmony of the stream, grasses, and the beautiful wellspring where the peasant girls come to fetch water in Die Leiden des jungen Werthers (The Sorrows of Young Werther, 1774), Goethe’s eponymous hero embraces pastoral nature with a passion. He partakes in a traditional pastoral setting of rustic, idyllic landscapes rife with “simple” peasant folk, happy children, and agricultural pursuits far from the complexities of urban or courtly life—at least in the first part of the novel. This idealized pastoral framework with its peaceful green hills and valleys appears isolated from—or, more precisely, abstracted from ...


Dirty Traffic And The Dark Pastoral In The Anthropocene: Narrating Refugees, Deforestation, Radiation, And Melting Ice, Heather I. Sullivan Jul 2016

Dirty Traffic And The Dark Pastoral In The Anthropocene: Narrating Refugees, Deforestation, Radiation, And Melting Ice, Heather I. Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

“Dirt is essentially disorder [....] Dirt offends against order,” asserts Mary Douglas in her 1966 anthropological text on “purity and pollution.” Dirt disturbs order; hence dirt is that which is disorderly and “out of place.” Similarly, according to Greg Garrard’s Ecocriticism (2012) the term pollution describes a cultural norm denoting something out of place: pollution, he writes, “does not name a substance or class of substances, but rather represents an implicit normative claim that too much of something is present in the environment, usually in the wrong place.” This definition of pollution and dirt as “something out of place,” however ...


Agency In The Anthropocene: Goethe, Radical Reality, And The New Materialisms, Heather I. Sullivan Jul 2016

Agency In The Anthropocene: Goethe, Radical Reality, And The New Materialisms, Heather I. Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

Our current era has been termed the Age of the “Anthropocene,” or the human- inflected geological era. This essay addresses the implications of human impact on the Earth as a form of “radical reality” by addressing the broad spectrum of human and non-human agency. The analysis follows a three-step process: it begins with an introduction to the new materialisms and distributed agency in contrast to Howard Tuttle’s notion of “radical reality” based on human consciousness. It then explores the agency of nature’s “vibrancy” in the debate occurring early in the Anthropocene (during Goethe’s lifetime) between “vitalism” and ...


Human And Non-Human Agencies In The Anthropocene, Gabriele Dürbeck, Caroline Schaumann, Heather Sullivan Oct 2015

Human And Non-Human Agencies In The Anthropocene, Gabriele Dürbeck, Caroline Schaumann, Heather Sullivan

Heather I Sullivan

The era of human impact throughout the Earth’s biosphere since the Industrial Revolution that has recently been named the Anthropocene poses many challenges to the humanities, particularly in terms of human and non-human agency. Using diverse examples from literature, travel reflections, and science that document a wide range of agencies beyond the human including landscape, ice, weather, volcanic energy or gastropods, and insects, this essay seeks to formulate a broader sense of agency. All of our examples probe new kinds of relationships between humans and nature. By configuring a close interconnection and interdependence between these entities, the Anthropocene discourse ...