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Ecocriticism: Some Emerging Trends

Ecocriticism: Some Emerging Trends Ecocriticism Some Emerging Trends lawrence buell The Problem of the Unstable Signifier What is ecocriticism? The imprecision with which it has been defined and the increasingly disparate uses to which it and its cognates have been put recall Arthur Lovejoy's classic essay "On the Discrimination of Romanticisms" (1924)--by which Lovejoy meant the problem of distinguishing among conflicting usages that belies the implication of a coherent category implied by its customary deployment in the singular.1 For romanticism, Lovejoy tried to impose a semblance of order through historicization, even though he was sorely tempted to throw up his hands. Romanticism "has ceased to perform the function of a verbal sign," he lamented. "When a man is asked . . . to discuss Romanticism, it is impossible to know what ideas or tendencies he is to talk about, when they are supposed to have flourished, or in whom they are supposed to be chiefly exemplified" ("ODR," 232). In a similarly jaundiced mood, one might say the same of ecocriticism. Although a term of much more recent coinage than romanticism was in 1924, in the two decades since it took off as something like a movement it too has generated initiatives or http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social Sciences University of Nebraska Press

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University of Nebraska Press
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Copyright © University of Nebraska Press
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1938-8020
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Abstract

Ecocriticism Some Emerging Trends lawrence buell The Problem of the Unstable Signifier What is ecocriticism? The imprecision with which it has been defined and the increasingly disparate uses to which it and its cognates have been put recall Arthur Lovejoy's classic essay "On the Discrimination of Romanticisms" (1924)--by which Lovejoy meant the problem of distinguishing among conflicting usages that belies the implication of a coherent category implied by its customary deployment in the singular.1 For romanticism, Lovejoy tried to impose a semblance of order through historicization, even though he was sorely tempted to throw up his hands. Romanticism "has ceased to perform the function of a verbal sign," he lamented. "When a man is asked . . . to discuss Romanticism, it is impossible to know what ideas or tendencies he is to talk about, when they are supposed to have flourished, or in whom they are supposed to be chiefly exemplified" ("ODR," 232). In a similarly jaundiced mood, one might say the same of ecocriticism. Although a term of much more recent coinage than romanticism was in 1924, in the two decades since it took off as something like a movement it too has generated initiatives or

Journal

Qui Parle: Critical Humanities and Social SciencesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: May 6, 2011

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