A new subfield of literary and cultural enquiry that emerged in the 1980s and 1990s, devoted to the investigation of relations between literature and the natural world and to the rediscovery and reinterpretation of ‘nature writings’ such as those of H. D. Thoreau and the poets of Romanticism (sometimes categorized as ‘environmental literature’) in the light of recent ecological concerns. Ecocriticism is not a method of analysis or interpretation but a redefined area of research and rediscovery. Most of this work has been pursued in the USA, where a special emphasis has been given to Native American folklore and literature; but much ecocritical work has also been devoted to the English Romantic tradition, notably by the British literary historian Jonathan Bate in his books Romantic Ecology (1991) and The Song of the Earth (2000). Special varieties within this field include ecofeminist criticism. For fuller accounts, consult Cheryl Glotfely and Harold Fromm (eds.), The Ecocriticism Reader (1996) and Greg Garrard, Ecocriticism (2004).
http://www.asle.umn.edu Association for the Study of Literature and Environment.