Ecocriticism and the Idea of Culture: Biology and the Bildungsroman
English | 2014 | ISBN: 140940157X | 179 pages | PDF | 1,4 MB
Calling for a new direction for ecocriticism that integrates ideas from the study of other animal cultures with those of cultural and critical theory, Helena Feder makes a timely intervention in the constructions of nature and culture by taking a fresh look at the stories humanism explicitly tells about itself. These stories fall into the genre of the Bildungsroman, the tale of the individual`s coming into culture that also participates in the myth of culture`s complete separation from and opposition to nature which, Feder argues, is culture`s own origin story.Moving from Voltaire`s Candide to Mary Shelley`s Frankenstein and from Virginia Woolf`s Orlando to Jamaica Kincaid`s A Small Place, Feder dramatizes Western culture`s own awareness of the instability of the binary of nature and culture. She draws on works by Frans de Waal, Kevin Laland, and other biologists to create an interdisciplinary, dialectical notion of culture in ecocritical analysis.