Monday, January 24, 2005

ecoShakespeare: Shakespeare and ecology

The 2005 meeting of the British Shakespeare Association at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 1-4 September 2005 will include a seminar for 'Shakespeare and ecology' led by Gabriel Egan (Loughborough University) and Kevin De Ornellas (Queen's University of Belfast).

The most pressing social and political problem of our time, ecological degradation, has had virtually no impact upon Shakespeare studies to date. Debates about how the countryside and animals are exploited by humans are apparent in Elizabethan and Jacobean dramatic and non- dramatic writing, but, since their productive forces were not sufficiently developed to make the widescale changes that we've become capable of, it is easily but wrongly assumed that ecological concern emerged only in the last 50 years. In fact, arguments about how to define the natural in contradistinction from the human, about the proper relations of these two spheres, and the ideological and political purposes to which arguments about nature might be put have long been apparent in literature and drama, as work on the Romantics has shown."

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