Nature and English Literature


Nature and literature have always shared a close relationship as is evidenced in the works of poets and other writers through the ages in almost all cultures of the world. Nature supports human and human society to perpetuate its existence. In gratitude, humanity revered and even worshipped the elements of nature. Thus humans and nature had a harmonious relationship until humanity changed its attitude towards nature and started treating it as its legacy, which it can exploit the way it assumes suitable for human civilization. With the beginning of renaissance, followed by the industrialization leading to hasty urbanisation which culminated with two of the greatest anthropogenic disasters in human history: WWI and WWII, human attitude and behaviour towards nature changed from “reverence” to “destruction”.

It is apparent that the two components of nature, organisms and their environment are not only very complex and dynamic, but also interdependent, mutually reactive and interrelated. Organisms including humans and their physical environment are intricately related. In this relationship, there are so much interdependent on each other that any disturbance in one disturbs the other. History has it that with every change in the civilization, the relationship of animals and human beings has also changed. The effect on civilization of the changes in environment has been so acute that sometimes it has wiped the whole civilization from the face of the earth. Literature, well known for talking about the contemporary issues could not have remained unaffected from this theme. The world of literature is brimming with works dealing with beauty and power of nature. However, the concern for ecology and the threat that continuous misuse of our environment poses on humanity has only recently caught the attention of writers. It is this sense of concern and its reflection in literature that has given rise to a new branch of literary theory—Ecocriticism.


Nature has always been an inseparable, supporting element in literature where it can be seen in multitudinous forms. It reflects various atmospheres, moods, feelings and status. Nature is an expressive form for literature. It is an indispensable mode of expression for describing fertility, vibrance, happiness, gloominess, bitterness, disturbing, lively and tragic ambience. In fact all types of settings moods and ambience can be presented through the help of nature and various elements of nature. Today ecology, eco-balance and environmental concerns are the key themes in literature. The prevalent environmental disparities (imbalances) has drawn the attention of the intellectuals and rational people to consider the issues seriously. Therefore, the literate has used their knowledge and skills to strengthen the attitude of people towards Environment Protection and eco-balance.

Poets and novelists have turned seriously eco- conscious and literature has become a mode of expression about environment and its importance in human life and universe. With their contribution “Environmental Protection” has become the hot issue in the world today. Indeed it is an issue of international significance. It is due to the ecological imbalance and environmental pollution that the whole world is under the curse of global warming.. Ecological imbalance is heading us straight towards our destruction. We need a healthy well balanced environment and an eco-friendly atmosphere for the proper growth, development, sustainability and prosperity. Countless environmental issues such as biological, political, social, regional, seasonal, psychological etc. have been mapped into literature by the intellectual writers of our time. They have focused their attention on the value of “echo-balance”. They advocate the balanced and harmonious co-relation between nature and mankind.


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