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Ground-Work: English Renaissance Literature and Soil Science

by Hillary Eklund Duquesne University Press
Pub Date:
Hbk 308 pages
AU$124.00 NZ$127.83
Product Status: Available in Approx 14 days
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How does soil, as an ecological element, shape culture? With the sixteenth-century shift in England from an agrarian economy to a trade economy, what changes do we see in representations of soil as reflected in the language and stories during that time? This collection brings focused scholarly attention to conceptions of soil in the early modern period, both as a symbol and as a feature of the physical world, aiming to correct faulty assumptions that cloud our understanding of early modern ecological thought: that natural resources were then poorly understood and recklessly managed, and that cultural practices developed in an adversarial relationship with natural processes. Moreover, these essays elucidate the links between humans and the lands they inhabit, both then and now.


Introduction: Toward a Renaissance Soil Science, Hillary Eklund

Compost/Composition, Frances E. Dolan

Richard Carew and the Matters of the Littoral, Tamsin Badcoe

Visions of Soil and Body Management: The Almanac in Richard II, Bonnie Lander Johnson

Unsoiled Soil and "Fleshly Slime": Representations of Reproduction in Spenser's Legend of Chastity, Lindsay Ann Reid

Groping Golgotha: Soil Improvement in the Towneley and Chesters Shepherds' Plays, Rob Wakeman

Winstanley and Postrevolutionary Soil, Keith M. Botelho

Fertility versus Firepower: Shakespeare's Contested Soil Ecologies, Randal Martin

Wetlands Reclamation and the Fate of the Local in Seventeenth Century England, Hillary Eklund

Manuring Eden: Biological Conversions in Paradise Lost, David B. Goldstein

Afterword, O'Dair



About the Contributors


Hillary Eklund is associate professor of English at Loyola University New Orleans and the author of Literature and Moral Economy in the Early Modern Atlantic: Elegant Insufficiencies.