Gilbert White’s eighteenth-century nature journals as ‘Everyday ecology'

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Williams, Rhian (2017)
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Related identifiers: doi: 10.1093/isle/isx035
  • Subject: GE | PN | PN0080 | PN0441 | PR

Innovatively drawing on unpublished nature records by Gilbert White (1720-93), rather than his well-known publication, The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne (1789), this article argues for the disruptive ecocritical potential of the ‘nature journal’ or ‘nature almanac’ genre. The inspiration, conceptual framework and terminology for this argument come from Henri Lefebvre’s (1901-91) account of ‘rhythmanalysis’, which proposes close attention to both the cyclical and the linear patterns of repetition that resonate through everyday experience – ‘everyday’ meaning commonplace and small-scale, and ‘everyday’ meaning recorded with unbroken regularity – as a disruptive alternative to the rhythms and time-scales of the capitalist economy. This article thus brings together archival research with contemporary cultural theory to propose new ways of 'thinking ecologically' and to contribute to a reconceptualisation of late eigtheenth-century natural history as materially 'ecological'.
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