Charlotte Brontë at the Anthropocene (SUNY Series) (Paperback)
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In this book, Shawna Ross argues that Charlotte Bront was an attentive witness of the Anthropocene and created one of the first literary ecosystems animated by human-caused environmental change. Bront combined her personal experiences, scientific knowledge, and narrative skills to document environmental change in her representations of moorlands, valleys, villages, and towns, and the processes that disrupted them, including extinction, deforestation, industrialization, and urbanization. Juxtaposing close readings of Bront 's fiction with Victorian and contemporary science writing, as well as with the writings of Bront 's family members, Ross reveals the importance of storytelling for understanding how human behaviors contribute to environmental instability and why we resist changing our destructive habits. Ultimately, Bront 's lifelong engagement with the nonhuman world offers five powerful strategies for coping with ecological crises: to witness destruction carefully, to write about it unflinchingly, to apply those experiences by questioning and redefining toxic definitions of the human, and to mourn the dead, all without forgetting to tend the living.
About the Author
Shawna Ross is Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M University. She is the author and editor of several books, including Humans at Work in the Digital Age: Forms of Digital Textual Labor.