Strange Beauty: Ecocritical Approaches to Early Medieval Landscape

Hardcover | August 15, 2009

byAlfred K. Siewers

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Strange Beauty brings the developing discipline of environmental literary criticism to bear on narratives of nature and the Otherworld from early cultures around the Irish Sea. Reflecting on an Otherworld associated with human experience, Siewers uses texts such as the Ulster Cycle and the Mabinogi to relate views of nature, symbolism and language. This book uncovers early syntheses of Christian and indigenous Insular cultures which express an integration of the spiritual and physical landscapes that are marginalized in later medieval thought. Strange Beauty opens a window on distinctive alternative views of the relation of culture to nature still relevant today.

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Strange Beauty brings the developing discipline of environmental literary criticism to bear on narratives of nature and the Otherworld from early cultures around the Irish Sea. Reflecting on an Otherworld associated with human experience, Siewers uses texts such as the Ulster Cycle and the Mabinogi to relate views of nature, symbolism ...

Alfred K. Siewers is Associate Professor of English at Bucknell University, where he teaches medieval literature and coordinates the Nature and Human Communities program of the Bucknell Environmental Center. He co-edited, with Jane Chance, Tolkien’s Modern Middle Ages, also in The New Middle Ages series.

other books by Alfred K. Siewers

Re-Imagining Nature: Environmental Humanities and Ecosemiotics
Re-Imagining Nature: Environmental Humanities and Ecose...

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:240 pages, 9.33 × 6.31 × 0.68 inPublished:August 15, 2009Publisher:Palgrave MacmillanLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0230606644

ISBN - 13:9780230606647

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Table of Contents

Archipelago and Otherworld * Reading the Otherworld Environmentally * Paradise in the Sea: An Early Geography of Desire * Colors of the Winds, Landscapes of Creation * A Cosmic Imaginarium * Archipelago and Empire

Editorial Reviews

"In Strange Beauty, Alfred Siewers contributes to a growing continuum of environmental readings of British literature . . . Impressive in the depth of his research and reading, Siewers sets a high standard for future ecocritical studies of medieval literature."--Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment“Strange Beauty is an outstanding addition to medieval cultural studies. The volume combines philological rigor, meticulous research, an engaging writing style, a fascinating set of questions, and a theory-savvy, innovative line of research. Siewers' book will put environmental approaches to medieval literature and culture on the critical agenda. The geographic and temporal dynamism that it allows its texts is inspirational. Well-chosen as well is the emphasis upon the Otherworld, the perfect imagined geography through which to think the project’s cluster of questions. Strange Beauty is, in a word, brilliant.”—Jeffrey J. Cohen, Professor and Chair of English, and Director, Medieval and Early Modern Studies Institute, George Washington University“I learned a great deal from Siewers’ analysis of the phenomenology and ideology of place in Beowulf and in medieval Celtic environmental imagination. Strange Beauty is a subtle and erudite book.”—Lawrence Buell, Department of English, Harvard University and author of The Environmental Imagination and The Future of Environmental Criticism“Siewers examines the inner and outer worlds of medieval Ireland and Britain with inspired sensitivity, wide-ranging learning, and a penetrating attention to detail.  His ecocritical perspective and his deep engagement with the insights of ascetic spirituality, enable him to interrogate the material in new and exciting ways. The result is a book rich in ideas, which finds in the ancient texts a vision, and a wisdom, which can speak to the predicaments of our own time.”—John Carey, Department of Early and Medieval Irish, National University of Ireland, Cork"In the course of setting forth his multi-faceted argument, Siewers demonstrates scholarly honesty and integrity at every turn . . . his main contributions lie less in the scholarly analysis of Celtic texts than in the elaborate and intellectually adventurous ways in which he finds analogues for their textual workings in modern theory, suggesting thereby the relevance of early Irish culture to today's sophisticated ecophilosophical thought."—The Medieval Review