31/10/2020 – CFC: The Power of Greenness: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and American Environmentalist Discourse

cfp green

What, when & where

The Power of Greenness: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and American Environmentalist Discourse

The call is addressed mainly, but not exclusively, to scholars investigating the writings of Edgar Allan Poe, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Herman Melville, who might be interested in contributing to the volume The Power of Greenness: Poe, Hawthorne, Melville, and American Environmentalist Discourse. The title of the planned collection of essays is an allusion to the classic 1955 study by Harry Levine The Power of Blackness. Poe, Hawthorne, Melville. As the “greenness” in the title suggests, the volume proposes to reexamine the fiction of Poe, Hawthorne, Melville with a view to establishing their contribution to what John Opie and Norbert Elliot call “American environmentalist discourse,” the literature that articulates a position on the natural world and man’s relation to it. Opie and Elliot in their essay “Tracking the Elusive Jeremiad: The Rhetorical Character of American Environmental Discourse” survey a wide range of American texts that “illuminate the ways in which Americans have used language to advance positions about the environment.” Their examples of environmental discourse include, to name a few, such texts as Samuel Danforth’s sermon “A Brief Recognition of New England’s Errand into the Wilderness” (1670); William Bartram’s Travels (1791); Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Nature (1836); Frederick Jackson Turner’s “Significance of the Frontier in American History” (1893); John Muir’s Yosemite (1912), and Aldo Leopold’s “Land Ethic,” from A Sand County Almanac (1949). Yet, such a list might be easily broadened to incorporate selected writings of Poe, Hawthorne, and Melville, which show obvious connections to the early ecological thought in the mid-nineteenth century USA, best exemplified by American Transcendentalism.

From the questioning of the errand into the wilderness to the first prefigurings of the Gaia Hypothesis and the subversion of the anthropocentric paradigm, some of the fiction of the three Romantic novelists reveals a striking convergence with the present-day environmental concerns engendered by an imminent man-wrought ecological catastrophe, variously dubbed as the sixth massive extinction or an ecocide.

Deadline & how to apply

Proposals for essays relevant to the topic of the volume should be sent by 31 October, 2020, directly to Sławomir Studniarz, the editor of the volume, using the provided e-mail: slawomirstudniarz@wp.pl

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