“Was not their mistake once more bred of the life of slavery that they had been living?—a life which was always looking upon everything, except mankind, animate and inanimate—‘nature,’ as people used to call it—as one thing, and mankind as another, it was natural to people thinking in this way, that they should try to make ‘nature’ their slave, since they thought ‘nature’ was something outside them” — William Morris

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Nature writing as Postmodernism

Some of you have been getting a bit shirty about my post on that. Thanks for proving my point! To wit:

"Everyone knows that nature writers are self-reflexive" means:

(1) You have admitted my basic observation. (Yet Ecocriticism is predicated precisely on denying it, viz Jonathan Bate's struggle against Hartman, who made the same claim about Wordsworth.)
(2) You are claiming that I shouldn't mention that nature writers are reflexive.
(3) (2) has the force of an injunction to be silent.

"Of course everyone KNOWS that x" just is a perfect example of postmodern rhetoric, a symptom of cynical reason.

And I'd go on to say that Wordsworth is the only one in the bunch who truly gets the Romantic irony involved in being explicit about narration.

Yet Wordsworth like Abbey hide the fact that a female amanuensis is nearby to inspire and transcribe their wilderness narration...

And like I say, when I first pointed this stuff out in 2007, I was threatened with physical violence. At least y'all are past the anger phase of grief...


Henry Warwick said...

thank you. Even though it's a bit of a jumble, I know what you're talking about and I agree. I've wanted to articulate similar ideas - you beat me to the punch!

Henry Warwick said...

thanks! I've been wanting to say something very similar for a while and you just gave me some of the language I needed. cheers!

john said...

Firstly, no-one said "everyone knows....." That would indeed be a silly thing to say.
Secondly, I think suggesting the responses "invoke an injunction to silence" is a little...melodramatic, maybe.
How would this injuction be imposed? And why is your reply also not then, in turn, some kind of injunction to silence?

john said...

Firstly, no-one said "everybody knows..." That would indeed be a silly thing to say.
Secondly, the suggestion that the replies represented an "injunction to silence" is a little....melodramatic, maybe.
And why is your reply not also then, in turn, an injuction to silence?

Timothy Morton said...

You couldn't possibly be the John who tried to set me up with Brenda Iijima could you? The John who coudln't *stand it when we didn't jump to your marching orders? Surely not!