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Chapter 7 - The Green 1890s:

World Ecology in Women’s Poetry

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2023

Dustin Friedman
Affiliation:
American University, Washington DC
Kristin Mahoney
Affiliation:
Michigan State University
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Summary

This chapter examines 1890s women poets through the lens of ecology. By focusing on three main parameters (countryside, city, and empire), the chapter offers a new landscape of poets and poetries of the 1890s and argues that some of the most advanced ecological thinking of the period appeared in women’s poetry. Starting with Christina Rossetti, the chapter unveils how poets of the 1890s used genres such as the pastoral, realist, and symbolist poetry paradigmatically to produce powerful critiques of agrilogistics, globalization and eco-colonialism at the fin de siècle. Central to the chapter is its focus on polluted environments. Looking at Amy Levy and Alice Meynell, it shows how their poetics of soot and grime argued for green spaces to combat the damaged caused by the coal industry to modern city living. The chapter also analyzes the anticolonial poetics of Katharine Tynan and Sarojini Naidu and their use of autochthonous plants in their fight against the British empire.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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