This book addresses the concept of ‘disaster’ through a variety of literary texts dating back to the early modern period. While Shakespeare’s age, which was an era of colonisation, certainly marked a turning point in men and women’s relations with nature, the present times seem to announce the advent of environmental justice in spite of the massive ecological destructions that have contributed to reshape our planet. Between then and now, a whole history of climatic disasters and of their artistic depictions needs to be traced. The literary representations of eco-catastrophes, in particular, have consistently fashioned the English identity and led to the progress of science and the ‘advancement of learning’. They have also obliged us to adapt, recycle and innovate. How could the destructive process entailed by ecological disasters be represented on the page and thereby transformed into a creative process encouraging meditation, preservation and resilience in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries? To this question, this book offers nuanced, contextualised and perceptive answers. Divided into three main sections ‘Extreme Conditions’, ‘Tempestuous Skies’, and ‘Biblical Calamities,' it deals with the major environmental issues of our time through the prism of early modern culture and literature.

chapter |12 pages

General Introduction

BySophie Chiari

part Part I|41 pages

Extreme Conditions

chapter 1|11 pages

Shakespeare, Natural Disaster and Atmospheric Phenomena

ByGeraldo U. de Sousa

chapter 2|18 pages


English Journeys to the End of the World
BySophie Lemercier-Goddard

part Part II|49 pages

Tempestuous Skies

chapter 4|16 pages

Man in Stormy Weathers

Tempestuous Skies in the Age of Shakespeare
ByDanièle Berton-Charrière

chapter 5|13 pages

The Storms of Othello in 1613

ByDavid M. Bergeron

chapter 6|18 pages

Francis Bacon and the Mastery of the Winds

ByAngus Vine

part Part III|59 pages

Biblical Calamities

chapter 7|15 pages

The Plague of Gnats in Shakespeare and His Contemporaries

BySophie Chiari

chapter 8|15 pages

Michael Drayton and the Invention of the Disaster Epic

Eco-catastrophe in the Late Poems
ByTodd A. Borlik

chapter Coda|15 pages

Climate Change and the Postsecular in Paul Schrader's First Reformed

ByJohn Gillies