Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-5d59c44645-k78ct Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-02-29T09:47:46.867Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chapter 8 - “Only Nature Is a Thing Unreal”: The Anthropocene 1890s

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 August 2023

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

Summary

The 1890s have a special significance in the literary history of the Anthropocene, and the fin de siècle has traditionally been understood as a moment when artifice triumphed over nature. Reexamining the period today, we can instead see how literature and art of the 1890s reckons with the idea of an indeterminate nature without design, purpose, or end – a nature profoundly shaped by human forces and yet beyond human reckoning and control. The concentrated finitude of the era, as framed in literary and historical study, actually reflects the period’s own grasp of the finitudes and vicissitudes of the natural world. This chapter aims to tease out the environmental and ecological inheritance of the decadent 1890s while simultaneously teasing apart the complex conceptual contestation among rival assaults on the category of the “natural” in the 1890s, assaults that can be roughly grouped around Oscar Wilde’s 1895 denaturalizing of heterosexuality and Svante Arrhenius’s 1896 denaturalizing of the atmosphere in his landmark essay “On the Influence of Carbonic Acid in the Air upon the Temperature of the Ground.”

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×