The Song of the Earth by Jonathan Bate

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Synopsis

As we enter a new millennium ruled by technology, will poetry still matter? The Song of the Earth answers eloquently in the affirmative. A book about our growing alienation from nature, it is also a brilliant meditation on the capacity of the writer to bring us back to earth, our home.

In the first ecological reading of English literature, Jonathan Bate traces the distinctions among "nature," "culture," and "environment" and shows how their meanings have changed since their appearance in the literature of the eighteenth century. An intricate interweaving of climatic, topographical, and political elements poetically deployed, his book ranges from greenhouses in Jane Austen's novels to fruit bats in the poetry of Les Murray, by way of Thomas Hardy's woodlands, Dr. Frankenstein's Creature, John Clare's birds' nests, Wordsworth's rivers, Byron's bear, and an early nineteenth-century novel about an orangutan who stands for Parliament. Though grounded in the English Romantic tradition, the book also explores American, Central European, and Caribbean poets and engages theoretically with Rousseau, Adorno, Bachelard, and especially Heidegger.

The model for an innovative and sophisticated new "ecopoetics," The Song of the Earth is at once an essential history of environmental consciousness and an impassioned argument for the necessity of literature in a time of ecological crisis.

 

About Jonathan Bate

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Jonathan Bate was born June 26, 1958. He is a British biographer, broadcaster, and leading Shakespeare scholar. He studied at Sevenoaks School, the University of Cambridge, and Harvard University. At Cambridge, he was a Fellow of Trinity Hall. While studying at Harvard, he held a Harness Fellowship. Bate is a professor of Shakespeare and Renaissance Literature at the University of Warwick. He was previously King Alfred Professor of English Literature at the University of Liverpool. He has also lectured at various universities in the United States. Bate is a Fellow of the British Academy and the Royal Society of Literature. Bate lives near Stratford-upon-Avon and is married to author and biography, Paula Byrne. They have three children.
 
Published January 1, 2000 by Picador. 352 pages
Genres: History, Nature & Wildlife, Literature & Fiction, Science & Math, Travel. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Song of the Earth

Project MUSE

As Jonathan Bate demonstrates in The Song of the Earth, this is no less true in literary studies than it is in political and social history.

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