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Greenery: Ecocritical Readings of Late…
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Greenery: Ecocritical Readings of Late Medieval English Literature…

by Gillian Rudd

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Greenery's general approach is to decry works that seek to separate humans from the world, to grant only humans sentience, or to value the world only in terms of its use to humans, whether for practical or allegorical ends. Val Plumwood is Rudd's standard reference for critical support; James Lovelock her standard site for critique (and, in the forest chapter, Corinee Saunders). However, rather than hewing closely to an overarching argument, it instead keeps close to the ground by offering a succession of close readings of works common to hundreds of Middle English literature surveys: lyric poetry (eg, 'When the turuf is thy tour' and 'The Former Age'), all the Pearl-poems, the Orpheus story in both Henryson's and Sir Orfeo's accounts, Malory (praised for his attention to 'actual woodland' (86), the Knight's and Franklin's Tale (the first for its trees, the second for its rocks and sea), and Piers Plowman. Rudd's chapters successively cover Earth, Trees, Wilds/Wastes/Wilderness, Sea and Coast, and Gardens and Fields. Like a lot of works on Middle English, it ahistorically projects the monolingualism of modern English departments into the medieval past by not giving much attention to either Anglo-French or Latin literature.

Highly recommended for giving to undergrads for training in close reading. ( )
  karl.steel | Apr 2, 2013 |
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