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The Concept of Nature in Early Modern English Literature


  • Date Published: February 2019
  • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from August 2019
  • format: Hardback
  • isbn: 9781108496810

£ 75.00

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About the Authors
  • The Concept of Nature in Early Modern English Literature traces a genealogy of ecology in seventeenth-century literature and natural philosophy through the development of the protoecological concept of 'the oeconomy of nature'. Founded in 1644 by Kenelm Digby, this concept was subsequently employed by a number of theologians, physicians, and natural philosophers to conceptualize nature as an interdependent system. Focusing on the middle decades of the seventeenth century, Peter Remien examines how Samuel Gott, Walter Charleton, Robert Boyle, Samuel Collins, and Thomas Burnet formed the oeconomy of nature. Remien also shows how literary authors Ben Jonson, George Herbert, Andrew Marvell, Margaret Cavendish, and John Milton use the discourse of oeconomy to explore the contours of humankind's relationship with the natural world. This book participates in an intellectual history of the science of ecology while prompting a re-evaluation of how we understand the relationship between literature and ecology in the early modern period.

    • Explores the relationship between literature and nature in the early modern period
    • Evaluates important but understudied figures alongside canonical writers
    • Expands the history of ecology into the seventeenth century
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    Product details

    • Date Published: February 2019
    • format: Hardback
    • isbn: 9781108496810
    • length: 234 pages
    • dimensions: 235 x 160 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.47kg
    • availability: Temporarily unavailable - available from August 2019
  • Table of Contents

    Introduction: oeconomy and ecology
    1. The oeconomy of nature in seventeenth-century England
    2. Penshurst's parasites: Ben Jonson and the art of bad housekeeping
    3. The school of beasts: human and animal dwellings in Viret and Marvell
    4. Divine husbandry: providence and oikonomia in the works of George Herbert
    5. Labors of luxury: John Milton, Thomas Burnet, and the nature of human labor
    Epilogue: from economy to ecology.

  • Author

    Peter Remien, Lewis-Clark State College, Idaho
    Peter Remien is an Associate Professor of English at Lewis-Clark State College, Idaho. His teaching and scholarship focuses on early modern English literature, with particular attention to economic and environmental approaches. His articles have appeared in a number of journals including Modern Philology, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, Studies in Philology, the Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, Spenser Studies, and PMLA.

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