Dr. Kelly Sultzbach will present her research titled “Poppies and Preservation: The Post-Pastoral Impulses of WWI Literature and Britain’s Environmental Preservation Movement" at 2:30-3:30 p.m., Friday April 21, in Wimberly 112.
British WWI propaganda utilized images of rolling pastures and garden gates but soldiers saw fields blasted into mud seeded with corpses and got to know the lives of rats and carrion in ways that denied any sense that “the kind old sun” would heal them. Thus, the post-pastoral literature of WWI veterans suggested that both individual humans and discreet places are fragile, mortal, and in need of saving. This talk uses ecocritical theory to explore the correspondences between the changing environmental consciousness of WWI literature and the growth of British environmental movements between the wars—including preservation societies, rambling clubs, and nature-assisted therapy for veterans. Specifically, Dr. Sultzbach will consider what impact the lessons of the trench had on post-war environmental ethics and how questions of historical environmental trauma might help us consider the literary stakes of representing contemporary environmental crises as well.