About the Book
Featuring over two hundred nature-themed texts spanning the disciplines of literature, science and history, this sourcebook offers an accessible field guide to the environment of Renaissance England, revealing a nation at a crossroads between its pastoral heritage and industrialized future. Carefully selected primary sources, each modernized and prefaced with an introduction, survey an encyclopaedic array of topographies, species, and topics: from astrology to zoology, bear-baiting to bee-keeping, coal-mining to tree-planting, fen-draining to sheep-whispering. The familiar voices of Spenser, Shakespeare, Jonson, and Marvell mingle with a diverse chorus of farmers, herbalists, shepherds, hunters, foresters, philosophers, sailors, sky-watchers, and duchesses - as well as ventriloquized beasts, trees, and rivers. Lavishly illustrated, the anthology is supported by a lucid introduction that outlines and intervenes in key debates in Renaissance ecocriticism, a reflective essay on ecocritical editing, a bibliography of further reading, and a timeline of environmental history and legislation drawing on extensive archival research.