Middleton And Ecological Change

Bruce Boehrer

in The Oxford Handbook of Thomas Middleton

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780199559886
Published online November 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Literature

Middleton And Ecological Change

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  • Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)



This article discusses the environmental themes in Middleton's plays. Middleton depicts the natural world as a resource that Londoners, both citizens and courtiers alike, exploit with cynical rapacity, consuming it to fashion an urban order that precisely inverts its values. But while Middleton's plays engage what we would now call ecological subjects, the playwright's sensibility is by no means ecological in the current sense of the term. His concern with human souls far surpasses his combined interest in plants, animals, minerals, water, the air, the earth, and its climate. Middleton does understand that the natural world is changing, and that the growth of London has something to do with that change, but he understands these developments through early modern Europe's residual master-code of religious experience. He sees them, that is, as essentially spiritual rather than scientific events.

Keywords: Thomas Middleton; environment; Londoners; religious experience

Article.  8527 words. 

Subjects: Literature ; Literary Studies (1500 to 1800)

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