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Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fallen Forests

"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" (UGA Press).

In her recently published book, Fallen Forests, English Professor Karen Kilcup examines nineteenth century American women's environmental writing "to show how women writers have drawn on their literary emotional intelligence to raise readers' consciousness about social and environmental issues" (UGA Press).  Kilcup's extensive research on the subject encompasses a wide range of female voices, including those from marginalized communities, such as Native American, African American, Mexican American, working class, and non-Protestant.  Her analysis extends beyond traditional texts to incorporate Native American speeches, travel writing, slave narratives, and diaries and illustrates their influence on environmental debates of the time.

"Beautifully written, meticulously researched, and brilliantly argued, Fallen Forests is a major contribution to ecocriticism and to the study of nineteenth century American women writers more broadly.  [It is] a remarkably dexterous and insightful work of ecocritical scholarship" (Michael P. Branch).

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