Thursday, August 26, 2010
mary robinson sources and related issues that I'd like to talk about more
Several people at the conference asked me for more info about Mary Robinson so I thought it might be easier to post that here:
Pascoe, Judith, ed. Mary Robinson: Selected Poems. Peterborough: Broadview, 2000.
Robinson, Mary. Poems, 1793.
---. Memoirs of the Late Mrs. Robinson Written by Herself. 2 vols. London: Richard Phillips, 1803.
---. Poetical Works, 1806.
The Robinson works are all accessible through online sources, maybe all through ECCO (Eighteenth Century Collections Online) - most university libraries subscribe to this.
The Pascoe text is great, very helpful bio and cultural context stuff and comprehensive selection of poetry from all of R's collections.
Pickering and Chatto also has published an 8 vol. complete works that also includes the novels (Walsingham;Or The Pupil of Nature is the most famous). General editor is William D. Brewer.
I teach a wide variety of Robinson's poetry and many of her poems are well-suited to ecocriticism classes especially as part of 'green romanticism'. I like teaching "Oberon's Invitation to Titania" and "Titania's Answer to Oberon", "The Negro Girl", all of the poems that deal with marginalized (aka feral?) figures - there are many, including the two I presented on - "The Maniac", "The Savage of Aveyron" ("Poor Marguerite" and "The Fugitive" are good too). There are also sonnets that celebrate birds and flowers, etc.
There are also some schlocky biographies and historical fictions that feature Robinson. These mostly focus on her affair with the Prince of Wales but if you like reading that sort of thing...
There were, though, a couple of things that I raised in my paper and hoped to get more feedback on but didn't really. I think these are important things for us to discuss - especially in reflecting on our first ALECC conference (and where we're going with this).
The first issue was what I call "feral ecocriticism". My view is that in defining the field and finding our places in and out of the academy as ecocritics, we might want to resist merely 'fitting in' and I wondered in my paper about what a 'feral ecocriticism' might look like.
Is it an institutional resistance?
Is it beautifully bad behavior?
Is it unapologetically bringing environmental justice issues to the forefront of literary studies?
I'd love to talk about this more!
The second issue I really wanted to sink my teeth into at the conference was ecofeminism which wasn't raised in any of the sessions I attended (although I heard that someone talking about Atwood's new novel did talk about ecofeminism). My ecofeminist contribution in the Robinson paper was mostly just to say that Robinson's feminist critics up to now have engaged in recovery work and canonization and that I'm trying to get to the next step and read individual poems using ecofeminist methodologies.
Currently my fallback ecofeminist methodologies are:
"interlocking oppressions" which I use to read women and nature as critically intertwined: marginal/other/oppressed/powerful
"strategic essentialism" which came in really handy when talking about Robinson's orientation to the feral both as a beauty (with a self constructed by the public gaze) and as a disabled woman
I'd be very interested in other tools that ecofeminist critics are using to read women's literary and cultural productions.
Bring it on...
p.s. I had lots of fun at the conference too! Thanks to everyone who made it happen so smoothly!