Date of Award
Bachelor of Arts
The EcoGothic: An Examination of Fear and the Environment in Nineteenth Century Literature examines literary representations of fears of nature in three pieces of British literature from the Nineteenth Century. This project critiques the dominant trends in ecocriticism, which remain largely focused on Romantic depictions of nature. There is a dearth of ecocritical scholarship focusing on representations of nature as a threatening force, therefore each of the works I examine depicts nature as terrifying and violent. By bringing such representations to light, I am able to identify the long literary history behind the presently popular narratives where nature is a vengeful and horrifying force. The EcoGothic begins by examining the link between nature and the threat of erotic temptation in Matthew Gregory Lewis’s The Monk. The second chapter looks at Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and her use of the sublime in inspiring fear of the natural world. Finally, the project concludes with an exploration of how Emily Brontë portrays the terrifying nature in Wuthering Heights as an object of desire. By calling attention to this often overlooked lineage of nature writing, The EcoGothic plays a role in widening the scope of ecocritical studies, proving there is much to be learned from examining representations of nature which not only fall outside the Romantic tradition, but are thoroughly terrifying.
Stachowiak, Lily, "The EcoGothic: An Examination of Fear and the Environment in Nineteenth Century Literature" (2020). Honors Theses. 243.