The Novel and the Environment: Nature, Cultivation, and Alien Ecologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Eighteenth-century novels describe a range of different environments. This chapter offers an overview of the ways in which the “normative” ecological conditions in England both shaped, and were shaped by, depictions of alien ecologies - the environmental conditions in regions that few readers had visited or experienced first-hand. It examines novels by Aphra Behn, Daniel Defoe, and Jane Austen, three novelists who offer important insights into how ecologies in Britain and abroad were characterized in terms of their actual or potential agricultural productivity. Rather than visions of an unspoiled Nature, their novels deal with the complex intersections between the natural world and the socio-political and economic values, assumptions, needs, and desires of their characters.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationHandbook of the British Novel in the Long Eighteenth Century
PublisherDe Gruyter
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9783110650440
ISBN (Print)9783110649765
StatePublished - Jan 1 2022


  • Ecology
  • Pacific Ocean
  • South America
  • estate
  • improvement
  • plantation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Arts and Humanities


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