Submission Date


Document Type

Paper- Restricted to Campus Access




Kara McShane

Committee Member

Robin Clouser

Committee Member

Rebecca Jaroff

Department Chair

Rebecca Jaroff

Project Description

Ecocriticism is a multi-disciplinary critical theory that connects environmentalism and literary studies by looking at texts through their representations of nature and ecology. While the study of ecocriticism might seem to be the most obvious fit for the pastoral literature of the Romantics and the Transcendentalists, it finds a home in Medieval Studies, too. One obvious challenge to connecting ecocritical theory to medieval literature is the fact that medieval thinkers conceptualized the environment in ways that seem unfamiliar from modern thought. However, medieval manuscripts had environmental footprints, as they were made from the skins of herd animals. Thus, studying medieval literature through ecocriticism is necessary: medieval literature is made from the environment. While I examine medieval literature through the lens of ecocriticism, my research focus is on the Ricardian prologue, the Tale of Apollonius, and the Tale of Constance in the poem the Confessio Amantis by John Gower. The chapter also explores gender and postcolonial theories through Gower’s tales.


Special thanks to the Rosenbach Museum of Philadelphia, whose manuscript copy of the Confessio Amantis helped to make this project possible.