Degree

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

Document Type

Dissertation

Abstract

Abstract

This dissertation establishes the literary emergence of the nineteenth-century British experimentation with and representation of climate change. As ecological catastrophes and strange climate changes unfolded, Romantic and Victorian writers confronted both a crisis of perception and the challenge of representing their deteriorating planet. My project identifies Gothic literary involvement with climate science and ecocriticism and expands a new subfield—the ecoGothic—to address representation of climate change during the long nineteenth-century. By considering principal characteristics of the Gothicizing Nature, I uncover how the ecoGothic lens enables awareness and representation of ecological crisis. The variety of nineteenth-century British archives (novels, periodicals, memoirs, reviews, sketches, paintings, exhibitions) in my study afford an interrogation of various human and nonhuman tensions, literary and real accounts of questionable human dominance upon the natural world and examine their ability to support or distort ecological networks. The span of the project includes the stories of the early Anthropocene, from the height of the Industrial Revolution to the somber Victorian fin-de-siècle. This interdisciplinary work offers an especially timely framework to understand human’s position in our environments during the COVID-19 pandemic era when the anthropocentric expressions are considered ostensible aggressive and cruel.

Date

11-7-2021

Committee Chair

Weltman, Sharon A

Available for download on Tuesday, October 31, 2028

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