Ecocritical Aesthetics

Ecocritical Aesthetics

Language, Beauty, and the Environment
Edited by Peter Quigley and Scott Slovic
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 02/28/2018
Format: Hardback 5 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-03210-2
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This lively collection of essays explores the vital role of beauty in the human experience of place, interactions with other species, and contemplation of our own embodied lives. Devoting attention to themes such as global climate change, animal subjectivity, environmental justice and activism, and human moral responsibility for the environment, these contributions demonstrate that beauty is not only a meaningful dimension of our experience, but also a powerful strategy for inspiring cultural transformation. Taken as a whole, they underscore the ongoing relevance of aesthetics to the ecocritical project and the concern for beauty that motivates effective social and political engagement.

Author Bio

Peter Quigley is professor of English at the University of Hawai‘i, Manoa, and also Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs for the University of Hawai‘i System. His publications include the edited volume Coyote in the Maze: Tracking Edward Abbey in a World of Words and Housing the Environmental Imagination: Politics, Beauty, and Refuge in American Nature Writing.

Scott Slovic is professor of literature and environment, professor of natural resources and society, and Chair of the English Department at the University of Idaho. He is author and editor of many books and articles, including Seeking Awareness in American Nature Writing and Going Away to Think.


“Beauty is perceived in and through cultural channels. However, because beauty is mediated does not by any means foreclose the idea that beauty is real and resides in the natural world. An ecologically inflected understanding of beauty and our perceptions and representations of it are essential to human flourishing.”
 — Neil W. Browne, author of The World in Which We Occur

“This important, even game-changing collection is motivated by the admirable impulse to reinsert beauty and aesthetics into the critical discourse of ecocriticism.”
 — Christoph Irmscher, author of Louis Agassis: Creator of American Science

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Table of Contents

Introduction / Peter Quigley

I. The Relevance of Beauty
1. "It is out of fashion to say so": The Language of Nature and the Rhetoric of Beauty in Robinson Jeffers / Tim Hunt
2. Thoreau’s Poetics of Nature / Arnold Berleant
3. The Pout’s Nest and the Painter’s Eye / Frank Stewart
4. "Yet How Beautiful It Is!": Work, Ethics, and Beauty in Stegner’s Angle of Repose / Tyler Nickl
5. Renaissance Aesthetics, Picturesque Beauty, the Natural Landscape: An Essay Examining the Rise and Fall of the Impulse toward Beauty / Mark Luccarelli

II. Beauty and Engagement
6. Toward an Ecofeminist Aesthetic of Reconnection / Greta Gaard
7. Beauty and the Body: Towards an Ecofeminist Aesthetic that Includes Loving Our Naked Selves / Janine DeBaise
8. Dystopia and Utopia in a Nuclear Landscape: Emerging Aesthetics in Satoyama / Yuki Masami
9. Know Beauty, Know Justice: Why Beauty Matters in the Classroom / ShaunAnne Tangney

III. Materiality, Transcendence, and Aesthetics
10. Nature’s Colors: A Prismatic Materiality in the Natural/Cultural Realms / Serpil Oppermann
11. From the Human to the Divine: Nature in the Writings of the Tamil Poet-Saints / Cynthia J. Miller
12. Beauty as Ideological and Material Transcendence / Werner Bigell
13. Toward Sustainable Aesthetics: The Poetry of Food, Sex, Water, Architecture, and Bicycle-Riding / Scott Slovic