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Emerald Green

An Ecocritical Study of Irish Literature

Author(s): Tim Wenzell

Book Description

Emerald Green: An Ecocritical Study of Irish Literature analyzes a wide range of Irish literature whose themes tie into a reverence for the natural world of Ireland. From an ecocritical perspective, these works, tied into an understanding of the landscape and particular aspects of nature, attain a fresh new meaning and foster a more relevant reflection of Ireland’s beautiful literary landscape. The analysis begins with the first Irish writers, the hermit poets, and examines the ways in which the Irish hermit and saint were connected spiritually, through both pagan and early Christian values, to the natural world. The book then examines Irish literature from the perspective of the deforested landscape and the landscapes of farmland, divided property, famine, ruins, and a threatening natural world. Following the Famine, the book moves on to explore the establishment of the pastoral dream in this loss of landscape, and a re- connection to nature through the writers of the Irish Literary Renaissance. From there, the analysis shifts to the nature writing of Ireland’s islands, including nature and community on Achill Island, storytelling on the Aran Islands, exile in nature on Skellig Michael, and the mythmaking of the Great Blasket Island. Moving north and into the twentieth century, Emerald Green focuses on four nature poets from Northern Ireland: Patrick Kavanagh, Louis MacNeice, Seamus Heaney, and Michael Longley; all four are redeemed by nature through their returns to the rural landscape of Ireland’s west coast. The book concludes with an examination of modern Irish environmental writers and naturalist poets, as well as journalists weighing in on current environmental concerns in Ireland. Emerald Green concludes with an assessment of the future of nature in Ireland, and how the significant reduction of this country’s natural landscape will alter its literary landscape as well.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-1633-5
ISBN-10: 1-4438-1633-7
Date of Publication: 01/12/2009
Pages / Size: 175 / A5
Price: £34.99


Tim Wenzell D.Litt. teaches writing and literature at Montclair State University and Kean University in New Jersey, USA. He has published widely, including essays in Irish Studies, a novel, non-fiction essays, and many short stories and poems.