Revisiting ‘How Green Were the Romantics?’ with Professor Ralph Pite, 30 Jan 2017

For decades, scholars have argued that Romantic literature and thought anticipates many of the concerns of contemporary environmentalism. Some critics have even suggested that the Romantics might help us to think and to act in a world facing serious ecological challenges. But is there a danger that we misrepresent the Romantic period in making it so relevant to the issues of our own time? Is it useful for us to turn to a different age that experienced very different problems to those that threaten our ecosystems and ways of life?

Over twenty years ago, Ralph Pite published an influential article that aimed to test the extent to which ‘Romantic poetry seems often to express an ecological point-of-view’ by asking the question ‘How Green were the Romantics?’ [1] For the first CRECS event of 2017, we’re asking him to revisit this territory and to consider how the answer to this question might have changed since 1996.

Although not obligatory, the session will be most useful if you have read and thought about the article in advance. Please get in touch with castellj@cardiff.ac.uk if you’d like a copy of the reading. If you are interested in attending, please sign up through Eventbrite (though feel free to come even if you don’t!): https://crecs-how-green-were-the-romantics.eventbrite.co.uk.

So, join us for an opportunity to discuss Ralph’s research with him in Cardiff University’s Special Collections, in the basement of the Arts and Social Studies Library. The event starts at 5.30pm on 30 January 2017. As usual, the event will be followed by a wine reception in the John Percival Building, Room 2.47.


[1] Ralph Pite, ‘How Green were the Romantics?’, Studies in Romanticism, 35 (1996), 357–373.

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