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Modern Literature Commons

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2011

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Boundaries

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Full-Text Articles in Modern Literature

Nature In A Box: Ecocriticism, Goethe’S Ironic Werther, And Unbalanced Nature, Heather I. Sullivan Jan 2011

Nature In A Box: Ecocriticism, Goethe’S Ironic Werther, And Unbalanced Nature, Heather I. Sullivan

Modern Languages and Literatures Faculty Research

Ecocriticism emphasizes how our bodily and ecological boundaries are just as porous, inter-penetrable, and open as are our cultural and linguistic realms. As individual bodies and communities, we are fully immersed in our material environment and participating in constant exchanges of matter and energy. In this essay, I nevertheless advocate for a cautious approach to the ecocritical question of contested boundaries. After all, some boundaries and membranes are necessary to maintain living organisms. Regarding Timothy Morton’s assertion that we are “radically open,” I note the need for stable and healthy membranes to sustain life, such as our porous yet ...