Poetry and Ecology in the Age of Milton and Marvell

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Routledge, Mar 2, 2017 - Literary Criticism - 276 pages
The focus of this study is the perception of nature in the language of poetry and the languages of natural philosophy, technology, theology, and global exploration, primarily in seventeenth-century England. Its premise is that language and the perception of nature vitally affect each other and that seventeenth-century poets, primarily John Milton, Andrew Marvell, and Henry Vaughan, but also Margaret Cavendish, Thomas Traherne, Anne Finch, and others, responded to experimental proto-science and new technology in ways that we now call 'ecological' - concerned with watersheds and habitats and the lives of all creatures. It provides close readings of works by these poets in the contexts of natural history, philosophy, and theology as well as technology and land use, showing how they responded to what are currently considered ecological issues: deforestation, mining, air pollution, drainage of wetlands, destruction of habitats, the sentience and intelligence of animals, overbuilding, global commerce, the politics of land use, and relations between social justice and justice towards the other-than-human world. In this important book, Diane McColley demonstrates the language of poetry, the language of responsible science, and the language of moral and political philosophy all to be necessary parts of public discourse.

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Contents

List of Plates
The State of Nature and the Problem
Marvell and the Language of Sensuous
Earth Mining Monotheism and Mountain Theology
Air Water Woods
The Lives of Plants
Animals Ornithology and the Ethics of Empathy
Animal Ethics and Radical Justice
Miltons Prophetic Epics
Bibliography
Index

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About the author (2017)

Diane Kelsey McColley is Professor II Emeritus at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, Camden, USA. She is the author of Milton's Eve; A Gust for Paradise: Milton's Eden and the Visual Arts; and Poetry and Music in Seventeenth-Century England.

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