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Ecology without Nature

Ecology without Nature

Rethinking Environmental Aesthetics

Timothy Morton

ISBN 9780674034853

Publication date: 09/15/2009

In Ecology without Nature, Timothy Morton argues that the chief stumbling block to environmental thinking is the image of nature itself. Ecological writers propose a new worldview, but their very zeal to preserve the natural world leads them away from the "nature" they revere. The problem is a symptom of the ecological catastrophe in which we are living. Morton sets out a seeming paradox: to have a properly ecological view, we must relinquish the idea of nature once and for all.

Ecology without Nature investigates our ecological assumptions in a way that is provocative and deeply engaging. Ranging widely in eighteenth-century through contemporary philosophy, culture, and history, he explores the value of art in imagining environmental projects for the future. Morton develops a fresh vocabulary for reading "environmentality" in artistic form as well as content, and traces the contexts of ecological constructs through the history of capitalism. From John Clare to John Cage, from Kierkegaard to Kristeva, from The Lord of the Rings to electronic life forms, Ecology without Nature widens our view of ecological criticism, and deepens our understanding of ecology itself. Instead of trying to use an idea of nature to heal what society has damaged, Morton sets out a radical new form of ecological criticism: "dark ecology."

Praise

  • Rigorous and unsettling, Timothy Morton's book is a vividly realized critique of the political and ethical meanings of "place" and "space." Steeped in philosophical and literary history, Ecology without Nature is a profoundly convinced and convincing intervention, calling as it does for a more intellectually robust and politically supple environmentalism, one much better suited to the realities of twenty-first-century life. A more thoughtful reflection on the future of dwelling together in a vulnerable world would be hard to find.

    —David L. Clark, Professor of English and Cultural Studies, McMaster University

Author

  • Timothy Morton is Rita Shea Guffey Chair of English at Rice University.

Book Details

  • 264 pages
  • 6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches
  • Harvard University Press

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