Woman, Land and Nation: an Ecocritical Reading of Margaret Atwood’s Poetry

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Anup Kumar Dey
Assistant Professor
Department of English
Assam University, Diphu Campus
Diphu, Karbi Anglong, Assam, India - 782460

Woman, Land and Nation: An Ecocritical Reading of Margaret Atwood’s Poetry

The word "ecocriticism" was probably first used in William Rueckert's essay "Literature and Ecology: An Experiment in Ecocriticism" (1978) and was subsequently accepted in critical vocabulary when Cheryll Glotfelty, at that time a graduate student at Cornell, revived the term in the meeting of the Western Literature Association in Coeur d'Alene in 1989, and recommended the use of the term to refer to the scattered critical field that had been known as "the study of nature writing." Glotfelty defines ecocriticism as “the study of the relationship between literature and the physical environment. Just as feminist criticism examines language and literature from a gender-conscious perspective, and Marxist criticism brings an awareness of modes of production and economic class to its reading of texts, ecocriticism takes an earth-centered approach to literary studies." He further states that “. . . all ecological criticism shares the fundamental premise that human culture is connected to the physical world, affecting it and affected by it. Ecocriticism takes as its subject the interconnections between nature and culture, specifically the cultural artifacts language and literature. As a critical stance, it has one foot in literature and the other on land; as a theoretical discourse, it negotiates between the human and the nonhuman.” (Glotfelty xviii). Simon Estok argues that ecocriticism is more than “simply the study of Nature or natural things in literature; rather, it is any theory that is committed to effecting change by analyzing the function–thematic, artistic, social, historical, ideological, theoretical, or otherwise–of the natural environment, or aspects of it, represented in documents (literary or other) that contribute to...
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