Harnessing new enthusiasm for Nan Shepherd's writing, The Living World asks how literature might help us reimagine humanity's place on earth in the midst of our ecological crisis. The first book to examine Shepherd's writing through an ecocritical lens, it reveals forgotten details about the scientific, political and philosophical climate of early twentieth century Scotland, and offers new insights into Shepherd's distinctive environmental thought. More than this, this book reveals how Shepherd's ways of relating to complex, interconnected ecologies predate many of the core themes and concerns of the multi-disciplinary environmental humanities, and may inform their future development.
Broken down into chapters focusing on themes of place, ecology, environmentalism, Deep Time, vital matter and selfhood, The Living World offers the first integrated study of Shepherd's writing and legacy, making the work of this philosopher, feminist, amateur ecologist, geologist, and innovative modernist, accessible and relevant to a new community of readers.
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Samantha Walton is a Reader in Modern Literature at Bath Spa University. She is co-editor of the ASLE-UKI journal Green Letters and has held visiting scholarships at IASH (University of Edinburgh), The University of Aberdeen, and the Rachel Carson Center, LMU. She is author of Guilty But Insane: Mind Law in Golden Age Detective Fiction (2015) and Everybody Needs Beauty: In Search of the Nature Cure (Bloomsbury, 2021). Her first book of poetry, Self-Heal was published by Boiler House Press in 2018.
Introduction: 'A Way In'
1. Place and Planet
4. Deep Time
5. Vital Matter
The Living World firmly establishes Nan Shepherd's significance as an ecological writer whose relevance continues to grow as we move further into the Anthropocene. With an admirably light touch, Walton provides an accessible and detailed account of Shepherd's work, underpinned by extensive contextual research, close reading, and dialogue with contemporary ecocriticism. * Pippa Marland, Research Fellow, University of Leeds, UK * Samantha Walton has produced a clearly structured and wonderfully deepening discussion of Nan Shepherd's remarkable expression of deceptively profound and vital lived experience. The Living World is a model of the ecocritical reading of a writer's work in a critical extension of its interwoven strands of environmental thought. * Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism *
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