"The Affective Legacy of Silent Spring"

Lockwood, Alex | from Multimedia Library Collection:

Lockwood, Alex. “The Affective Legacy of Silent Spring.” Environmental Humanities, vol. 1 (November 2012): 123–40.

In the fiftieth year since the publication of Silent Spring, the importance of Rachel Carson’s work can be measured in its affective influence on contemporary environmental writing across the humanities. The ground broken by Silent Spring in creating new forms of writing has placed affect at the very center of contemporary narratives that call for pro-environmental beliefs and behaviors. A critical public-feelings framework is used to explore these issues and trace their passage from the private and intimate, where they risk remaining denuded of agency, and into the public sphere. Carson’s narrative procedures mobilized private feelings, particularly anger aimed at environmental destruction, into political action. Thus Silent Spring is shown to occupy a foundational position in the history of the environmental humanities, and a cultural politics concerned with public feelings. (Adapted from the author’s abstract.)

© Alex Lockwood 2012. Environmental Humanities is available online only and is published under a Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).