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Fallen forests : emotion, embodiment, and ethics in American women's environmental writing, 1781-1924 / Karen L. Kilcup.

By: Kilcup, Karen L.
Material type: TextTextPublisher: Athens and London : University of Georgia Press, [2013]Copyright date: ©2013Description: xv, 504 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm.Content type: text Media type: unmediated Carrier type: volumeISBN: 9780820332864; 0820332860.Subject(s): American literature -- Women authors -- History and criticism | Environmental protection in literature | Nature conservation in literature | Ecology in literature | Nature in literature | LITERARY CRITICISM -- American -- General | American literature -- Women authors | Ecology in literature | Environmental protection in literature | Nature conservation in literature | Nature in literature | Frauenliteratur | Ecocriticism | Umweltschutz | USAGenre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc.DDC classification: 810.9/9287 Other classification: LIT004020
Contents:
Grounding the texts : an introduction -- "We planted, tended, and harvested our corn" : native mothers, resource wars, and conversion narratives -- "Such progress in civilization" : forest life and mushroom growth, East, West, and South -- Golden hands : weaving America -- Gilt-edged or "beautifully unadorned" : fashioning feelings -- Domestic and national moralities : justice in the West -- After words : toward common ground.
Summary: "In 1844, Lydia Sigourney asserted, "Man's warfare on the trees is terrible." Like Sigourney many American women of her day engaged with such issues as sustainability, resource wars, globalization, voluntary simplicity, Christian ecology, and environmental justice. Illuminating the foundations for contemporary women's environmental writing, Fallen Forests shows how their nineteenth-century predecessors marshaled powerful affective, ethical, and spiritual resources to chastise, educate, and motivate readers to engage in positive social change. Fallen Forests contributes to scholarship in American women's writing, ecofeminism, ecocriticism, and feminist rhetoric, expanding the literary, historical, and theoretical grounds for some of today's most pressing environmental debates. Karen L. Kilcup rejects prior critical emphases on sentimentalism to show how women writers have drawn on their literary emotional intelligence to raise readers' consciousness about social and environmental issues. She also critiques ecocriticism's idealizing tendency, which has elided women's complicity in agendas that depart from today's environmental orthodoxies. Unlike previous ecocritical works, Fallen Forests includes marginalized texts by African American, Native American, Mexican American, working-class, and non-Protestant women. Kilcup also enlarges ecocriticism's genre foundations, showing how Cherokee oratory, travel writing, slave narrative, diary, polemic, sketches, novels, poetry, and expose intervene in important environmental debates"-- Provided by publisher.
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"In 1844, Lydia Sigourney asserted, "Man's warfare on the trees is terrible." Like Sigourney many American women of her day engaged with such issues as sustainability, resource wars, globalization, voluntary simplicity, Christian ecology, and environmental justice. Illuminating the foundations for contemporary women's environmental writing, Fallen Forests shows how their nineteenth-century predecessors marshaled powerful affective, ethical, and spiritual resources to chastise, educate, and motivate readers to engage in positive social change. Fallen Forests contributes to scholarship in American women's writing, ecofeminism, ecocriticism, and feminist rhetoric, expanding the literary, historical, and theoretical grounds for some of today's most pressing environmental debates. Karen L. Kilcup rejects prior critical emphases on sentimentalism to show how women writers have drawn on their literary emotional intelligence to raise readers' consciousness about social and environmental issues. She also critiques ecocriticism's idealizing tendency, which has elided women's complicity in agendas that depart from today's environmental orthodoxies. Unlike previous ecocritical works, Fallen Forests includes marginalized texts by African American, Native American, Mexican American, working-class, and non-Protestant women. Kilcup also enlarges ecocriticism's genre foundations, showing how Cherokee oratory, travel writing, slave narrative, diary, polemic, sketches, novels, poetry, and expose intervene in important environmental debates"-- Provided by publisher.

Includes bibliographical references (pages 429-485) and index.

Grounding the texts : an introduction -- "We planted, tended, and harvested our corn" : native mothers, resource wars, and conversion narratives -- "Such progress in civilization" : forest life and mushroom growth, East, West, and South -- Golden hands : weaving America -- Gilt-edged or "beautifully unadorned" : fashioning feelings -- Domestic and national moralities : justice in the West -- After words : toward common ground.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

Library Journal Review

Scholar Kilcup (English, Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro; Teaching 19th-Century American Poetry; Soft Canons: American Women Writers and Masculine Tradition) is clearly passionate about American women's writing, as evidenced in this meticulously researched text. She places her work within the arena of ecocriticism, which she defines as extending "beyond textual analysis to study literature's social and political consequences, particularly its ethical inflections." Kilcup's analysis includes a range of lesser-heard voices, including women of color, the working class, Native American, and non-Protestant women. Her research extends to less traditional texts such as speeches, diaries, and travel writing. Readers will also find investigations into more familiar authors such as Sarah Orne Jewett and Harriet Jacobs. Copious notes and a selected bibliography further illustrate Kilcup's extensive research. VERDICT This book is for academic audiences, especially readers with an interest in 19th-century American literature, women's literature, and ecofeminist criticism.-Stacy Russo, Santa Ana Coll. Lib., CA (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

CHOICE Review

In this wide-ranging, deeply insightful book, Kilcup (Univ. of North Carolina, Greensboro) both extends and challenges current thinking about American women's writings about the environment in the long 19th century. By addressing various time periods, genres, and ethnicities, the author claims that 19th-century women writers interested in the environment demonstrate what she calls "literary emotional intelligence"--that is, various affective literary approaches to rally for environmental consciousness and change. Adding to the field of rhetorica, or women's rhetoric, this book makes a valuable contribution to making "audible" many now-forgotten women's voices. Grounded in eco-feminist theory, the book is particularly strong in its close readings of writers such as Lorenza Stevens Berbineau, Cherokee women, Freeman, Jacobs, Mary Jemison, Jewett, Kirkland, Larcom, Ruiz de Burton, Sigourney, Thaxter, and Winnemucca. The study is also valuable for the way it forces the reader to question the disjuncture of such terms as "nature writing," "environmental literature," pastoral, jeremiad, and activism. The conclusion is particularly noteworthy for the way it argues that "many contemporary women writers connect the domination of nature with colonialism, imperialism, and the exploitation of women, working-class and rural people, and people of color" and discusses Kingsolver, Kincaid, Dillard, and Winona LaDuke. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above. D. J. Rosenthal John Carroll University

Author notes provided by Syndetics

KAREN L. KILCUP is a professor of English at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her many books include Teaching Nineteenth-Century American Poetry and Soft Canons: American Women Writers and Masculine Tradition.

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