Module Identifier ENM6920  
Academic Year 2004/2005  
Co-ordinator Dr Matthew R Jarvis  
Semester Intended for use in future years  
Next year offered N/A  
Next semester offered N/A  
Course delivery Seminars / Tutorials   Seminars 5 x 2-hours  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Assessment 1 X 5000-WORD ESSAY  100%
Supplementary Assessment MAKE GOOD ANY FAILED ELEMENTS  100%

Learning outcomes

On completion of this module, students should be able to:

1. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of the philosophical issues raised by the concept of `nature';

2. demonstrate a detailed knowledge of how ecocriticism deals with issues of materiality and referentiality, and its consequent interrelations with other theoretical areas;

3. demonstrate a sustained ecocritical engagement with the poetry of Ted Hughes.


This module offers a concentrated study of key theoretical issues within ecocritical discourse with a literary focus on Ted Hughes.

Brief description

This module seeks to examine key areas of theoretical concern in the emerging analytical discourse of ecocriticism. It thus addresses an extended philosophical discussion of the concept of nature; it engages with issues of materiality and the potential relationship between Marxism and ecocriticism; and it examines ecocritical attitudes towards referentiality in the aftermath of deconstructive / postmodern thought. Having considered such issues over the first three weeks, the module seeks to apply the theoretical matters raised to two concluding weeks of ecocritical reading, in which the literary focus will be the British nature poet Ted Hughes. Based around two themes (respectively, `Place' and `Flora and Fauna'), a number of Hughes'r collections will be considered in order to generate a significant ecocritical engagement with his poetry.


1. The Nature of Nature
Kate Soper, What is Nature? (Oxford: Blackwell, 1995).
We will be using substantial key extracts from this text as part of an introductory session that will establish a detailed understanding of concepts to do with `nature' and `the natural'.

2. Materiality: Ecocriticism and Marxism
Lance Newman, `Marxism and Ecocriticism', ISLE 9.2 (2002), 1-25
Lawrence Buell, Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U.S. and Beyond (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2003), `Discourses of Determinism', 129-169
Adamson, Joni and Rachel Stein, eds, `Environmental Justice: A Roundtable Discussion', ISLE 7.2 (2000), 155-170
What can ecocriticism learn from Marxism? Why might a `red ecocriticism? be necessary, and what might it look like? Does a Marxist-style concern with materiality result in a reductive environmental determinism? What should be the relationship between ecocriticism and radical social movements concerned with environmental justice?

3. Reference / Referance: The Ecocritical Response to Poststructuralism
Leonard M. Scigaj, `Contemporary Ecological and Environmental Poetry: Differance or Referance?', ISLE 3.2 (1996), 1-25
Bruce Clarke, `Science, Theory, and Systems: A Response to Glen A. Love and Jonathan Levin', ISLE 8.1 (2001), 149-165
How does ecocriticism deal with referentiality in the aftermath of deconstructive / postmodern thought?

4. Ecocritical Reading 1: Ted Hughes - Place
From Ted Hughes, The Collected Poetry of Ted Hughes (London: Faber, 2003): Remains of Elmet; Moortown Diary
Supporting critical material (photocopy provided): Terry Gifford, Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1995), `Laureate of Nature: The Poetry of Ted Hughes', 114-139
Over weeks 4 and 5, the theoretical issues covered in the previous three weeks will be used to frame readings of the poetry of Ted Hughes, with selections from Hughes covering the themes of `Place' (week 4) and `Flora and Fauna' (week 5).

5. Ecocritical Reading 2: Ted Hughes - Flora and Fauna
From Ted Hughes, The Collected Poetry of Ted Hughes (London: Faber, 2003): Cave Birds, A Primer of Birds, Flowers and Insects, River, `The Black Rhino' (from Wolfwatching)

Reading Lists

** Should Be Purchased
Buell, Lawrence (2003) Writing for an Endangered World: Literature, Culture, and Environment in the U.S. and Beyond Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press
Hughes, Ted (2003) The Collected Poetry of Ted Hughes London: Faber
Soper, Kate (1995) What is Nature? Oxford: Blackwell
** Recommended Consultation
Armbruster, Karla and Kathleen R. Wallace (eds) (2001) Beyond Nature Writing: Expanding the Boundaries of Ecocriticism Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia
Branch, Michael P. and Scott Slovic (eds) (2003) The ISLE Reader: Ecocriticism, 1993-2003 Athens, GA: University of Georgia Press
Buell, Lawrence (1995) The Environmental Imagination Cambridge, MA: Belknap
Parham, John (ed) (2002) The Environmental Tradition in English Literature Aldershot: Ashgate
Scigaj, Leonard M (1999) Sustainable Poetry: Four American Ecopoets Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky
Kerridge, Richard and Neil Sammels (eds) (1998) Writing the Environment: Ecocriticism and Literature London: Zed
Coupe, Lawrence, ed (2000) The Green Studies Reader: From Romanticism to Ecocriticism London: Routledge
Gifford, Terry (1995) Green Voices: Understanding Contemporary Nature Poetry Manchester: Manchester University Press
Gifford, Terry Pastoral (The New Critical Idiom) London: Routledge

(1993 on) ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment Reno, NV: Association for the Study of Literature and Environment


This module is at CQFW Level 7