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Department ofModern Languages and Literatures


Jeff Burkholder publishes a comprehensive study on the poetics of nature in French literature

Jeff with his books.

Jeff Burkholder’s book Poétique de la nature has been published by Classiques Garnier. Engaging with contemporary ecological thought, it studies ideas and representations of nature in French literature from 1750 to 1920. Notably, it charts the emergence of a typically modern conception of nature, one marked by a striking negativity. If “nature” is classically understood to include humanity (i.e., “human nature”), it begins to designate precisely the contrary: the wilderness, the green spaces, the outside of the city, the remote prehistory of civilization, all that modern Europe has not yet formed or corrupted. The book begins by examining how this nature becomes the object of a powerful new descriptive art in the fiction and political philosophy of Jean-Jacques Rousseau. It then explores how nineteenth-century literature takes up and transforms this new poetics in ways that still inform our understanding of nature today.

Books by Jeff Burkholder in window.

Poétique de la nature on sale in the window of the publisher's bookshop on the Rue de la sorbonne.

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