The Truth of Ecology: Nature, Culture, and Literature in America

Paperback | June 9, 2003

byDana Phillips

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The Truth of Ecology is a wide-ranging, polemical appraisal of contemporary environmental thought. Focusing on the new field of ecocriticism from a thoroughly interdisciplinary perspective, this book explores topics as diverse as the history of ecology in the United States; the distortions ofpopular environmental thought; the influence of Critical Theory on radical science studies and radical ecology; the need for greater theoretical sophistication in ecocriticism; the contradictions of contemporary American nature writing; and the possibilities for a less devotional, "wilder" approachto ecocritical and environmental thinking. Taking his cues from Thoreau, Stevens, and Ammons, from Wittgenstein, Barthes and Eco, from Bruno Latour and Michel Serres, from the philosophers Rorty, Hacking, and Dennett, and from the biologists Ernst Mayr and Stephen Jay Gould, author Dana Phillips emphasizes an eclectic but pragmatic approachto a variety of topics. His subject matter includes the doctrine of social construction; the question of what it means to be interdisciplinary; the disparity between scientific and literary versions of realism; the difficulty of resolving the tension between facts and values, or more broadly,between nature and culture; the American obsession with personal experience; and the intellectual challenges posed by natural history. Those challenges range from the near-impossibility of defining ecological concepts with precision to the complications that arise when a birder tries to identifychickadees in poor light on a winter's afternoon in the Poconos.

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The Truth of Ecology is a wide-ranging, polemical appraisal of contemporary environmental thought. Focusing on the new field of ecocriticism from a thoroughly interdisciplinary perspective, this book explores topics as diverse as the history of ecology in the United States; the distortions ofpopular environmental thought; the influence...

Dana Phillips earned a doctorate in English at Duke University. He has published articles on American literature in Raritan, American Literature, Arizona Quarterly, Nineteenth-Century Literature and New Literary History.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 6.1 × 9.21 × 0.79 inPublished:June 9, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0195137698

ISBN - 13:9780195137699

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"The Truth of Ecology is a significant intervention in the ongoing nature/culture debates. Within its original contributions to these debates, Dana Phillips's book raises important questions abut the relationship between science and the humanities through querying the function of theory inboth these fields. It is a polemic of exceptional theoretical rigor and imagination, written with a fine sense of style, of which wit is a welcome component. Whether or not one is interested in ecocriticism per se, the book has a lot to offer in its wide ranging interests and is a pleasure to readfor the lively critical intelligence therein engaged."--Eric Cheyfitz, University of Pennsylvania