A Native re-reading of both British Romanticism and mainstream Euro-American eco-criticism, this cross-cultural transatlantic study of literary imaginings about birds sets the agenda for a more sophisticated and nuanced eco-criticism. Lakota critic Thomas C. Gannon explores how writers and poets in Britain and Native America have incorporated birds into their writings. He discerns an evolution in humankind's representations – and attitudes toward – other species by examining the avian images and tropes in British Romantic and Native American literatures, and by considering how such literary treatment succeeds from an ecological or animal-rights perspective.
Such depictions, Gannon argues, reveal much about underlying cultural and historical relationships with the Other – whether other species or other peoples. He elucidates the changing interconnections between birds and humans in British Romanticism from Cowper to Clare, with particular attention to Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, and Keats. Gannon then considers how birds are imagined by Native writers, including early Lakota authors and contemporary poets such as Linda Hogan and Joy Harjo. Ultimately he shows how the sensitive and far-reaching connections with nature forged by Native American writers encourage a more holistic re imagining of humankind's relationship to other animals.
1. Birds of a Feather: Avians, Indigenes, Animal Rights, and Ecology
2. Wandering Voices: The Avian Other from Cowper to Wordsworth
3. Blithe Spirit and Immortal Bird: The Avian Other from Wordsworth to Clare
4. The Eagle and the Crow: Avian Returns in Native American Literature
5. A Beatitude of Birds: Contemporary Native Poetry Epilogue: The Avian Speaks Back
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Thomas C. Gannon is an associate professor of English and ethnic studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His articles have appeared in Leaves of Grass: The Sesquicentennial Essays, the Walt Whitman Quarterly Review, and the South Dakota Review.