Seeing the Human in Nature in New British Nature Writing

In my previous post, I wrote about form as an important part of new nature writing. I discussed how authors use experimental form to redefine nature – what I think is a defining feature of the genre. At the end of the post, I started to look at Olivia Laing’s To the River and CharlesContinue reading “Seeing the Human in Nature in New British Nature Writing”

Finding a Shape to Write About Nature

New nature writing is surprisingly hotly debated. In the New Statesman recently, Mark Cocker and Robert Macfarlane debated the genre, and especially Cocker’s claim that it was too “tame”. This kind of debate is interesting to me, because it says a lot about how people whom we call new nature writers define the genre. I’llContinue reading “Finding a Shape to Write About Nature”

Finding the Wild Nearby in New British Nature Writing

2015 looks to become the year of wild things – at least as far as research is concerned. I’ll be writing a book chapter on wolves and wilderness for a collection, and have submitted an abstract for the 2015 ASLE conference on contemporary ideas of wildness as a continuum shaped by region, culture and gender.Continue reading “Finding the Wild Nearby in New British Nature Writing”

Urban Nature

“Seeing nature in the city is only a matter of perception”- Anne Spirn. The Granite Garden. At least since the turn of the century, attention to nature in cities is increasing – from Transition Towns to green design, from Edgelands to Field Notes from a Hidden City. There’s also wealth of research on the benefitsContinue reading “Urban Nature”

“All practices of exploration are embodied” – Postscript on Gender and Nature Writing

Last month’s post Typically Feminine? Or, Gender in New Nature Writing generated some great responses from others interested in and working on (new) nature writing. Some rightly challenged the limits of the rough dichotomy I sketched between male and female writing, others recognized it, or even admitted to avoiding some works by male nature writersContinue reading ““All practices of exploration are embodied” – Postscript on Gender and Nature Writing”

Typically feminine? Or, Gender in New Nature Writing Part 2

Last year I wrote a post about the role of gender in new nature writing and concluded that much new nature writing, like “old”, presents experiences of nature as distinctly male rites of passages, with “the remote concerns of the British isles as the not-so-new-frontier”. As Jeremy Solnick notes in a comment on that post,Continue reading “Typically feminine? Or, Gender in New Nature Writing Part 2”

Macho nature? Or, Gender in New Nature Writing Part I

Sure, the few tentative attempts at defining a new British nature writing suggest that this is a (sub) genre dominated by men, with the notable exception of Kathleen Jamie. Nonetheless, I’d never really thought of these new British nature writing texts in terms of gender – perhaps the result of years of reading of ecocriticalContinue reading “Macho nature? Or, Gender in New Nature Writing Part I”