The volume offers a survey of the contribution of German literature and culture to the evolution of ecological thought. As the field of ecocritical theory and practice is rapidly expanding towards transnational and global dimensions, it seems nevertheless necessary to consider the distinct manifestations of ecological thought in various cultures. In this sense, Ecological Thought in German Literature and Culture demonstrates in twenty-six essays from different disciplines how German literature, philosophy, art, and science have contributed in unique ways to the emergence of ecological thought on national and transnational scale. The volume maps the most important and characteristic of these developments both on a theoretical and on a textual-analytical level. It is structured in five parts ranging from proto-ecological thought since early modern times (part I) to major theoretical approaches (part II), environmental history (part III), and ecocritical case studies (part IV), to ecological visions in different media and art forms (part V).
The four editors have widely published and are actively involved in ecocritical literary and cultural studies. The group of editors consists of two scholars of German literature and cultural studies, Gabriele Duerbeck and Urte Stobbe (both University of Vechta), a scholar in German and comparative literature, Evi Zemanek (University of Freiburg), as well as a scholar of Anglo-American ecoliterature and ecocriticism, Hubert Zapf. All of them are involved in various projects and research networks on ecology and literature. The contributors of the individual chapters likewise are all experts in their respective fields, ranging from German literature, history, environmental studies, art history, music and art. The book is a unique and readily accessible collection of essays that is of relevance not only for a German and continental European but for a worldwide audience.
1. Cultural History of the Four Elements
2. Goethe’s Concept of Nature: Proto-Ecological Model
3. Nature, Language, and Religion: Herder and Beyond
4. Poet and Philosopher: Novalis and Schelling on Nature and Matter
5. Alexander von Humboldt as Ecologist
6. Heidegger’s Ecological Criticism
7. Ecocriticism and the Frankfurt School
8. The Ethics and Aesthetics of Landscapes
9. Niklas Luhmann’s Theory of Social Systems
10. Risk Theory
11. Cultural Ecology
12. Thinking the Disaster: A Historical Approach
13. Industrial Pollution in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries
14. Cultural Landscapes in Germany – Continuities, Ruptures, and Stewardship
15. Environmentalism in Germany since 1900: An Overview
16. History of Substances
17. From Baroque Pastoral to the Idyll
18. German Ecopoetry
19. Elemental Poetics: Material Agency in Contemporary German Poetry
20. Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Their Impact on Christa Wolf’s Störfall
21. German Cold War Bunker Narratives
22. Climate Change Fiction and Ecothrillers
23. The Perception of German Landscapes
24. Beethoven’s Natures
Aaron S. Allen
25. Visions of Nature and Ecological Thought in German Feature Films
26. American Land Art and Ecological Landscape Aesthetics in Europe
Gabriele Dürbeck is professor of literature and cultural studies at University of Vechta. Urte Stobbe is postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in the field of German literature and linguistic at University of Vechta. Hubert Zapf is professor of American literature and co-director of environmental humanities research at the University of Augsburg. Evi Zemanek is associate professor of German literature and interart studies at the University of Freiburg.
"This broad and comprehensive survey of German ecological thought is an especially welcome addition to the growing body of scholarship on the environment in the German tradition. Many prominent critics discuss the most crucial aspects from proto-ecological models to environmental theory, history, literature, and art – a must read for everyone interested in ecology and German culture."
– Sabine Wilke, University of Washington
"At a time when the tension between the local and the global requires that we reconsider our multiple roots and porous place-identities, Ecological Thought in German Literature and Culture is a canonic work that enriches not just 'nationally-oriented' academic studies, but also the entire debate on environmental culture. Skillfully encompassing theoretical approaches, philosophy, history, literature, and the arts, this elegant and challenging volume is the most complete and state-of-the-art guide to examine German culture through the lens of the environmental humanities."
– Serenella Iovino, Professor of Comparative Literature, University of Turin, Italy