We need a new concept, and we need a new word to describe that concept. The new word we need is “urbanature.” The concept this word describes is the idea that nature and urban life are not as distinct as we have long supposed. Here is why.

Hawks are roosting on skyscrapers near Central Park East and Central Park West. Peregrine falcons are feeding on the Flatiron Building, and owls are nesting throughout Manhattan. Meanwhile, thousands of environmentalists board carbon-gulping airplanes and fly thousands of miles (carrying tons of Gore-Tex) to get “back to nature” in Montana. At the same time, the World Wide Web tells us that Thoreau said, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” Over 600 websites say so. But Thoreau did not say, “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.” He said, “In wildness is the preservation of the world.” This difference--"wildness," not "wilderness"--makes all the difference.

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Thematic Blogging at RC

I'm pleased to announce an ongoing series of guest bloggers for Romantic Circles web log. RC has asked scholars to write about thematic issues in Romanticism and post their musings on the RC blog for three to four months. We're beginning the thematic thread with issues of Ecocriticism. This theme will run from July through October. Guest bloggers for Ecocriticism will be Kurt Fosso, Timothy Morton, and Ashton Nichols. In the future, we will invite other scholars with other thematic issues of interest to contemporary scholarship.

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Physical proximity to nature

“What are men to rocks and mountains!” Elizabeth Bennet’s exclamation belies an important romantic-era question about the relationship between human beings and the natural world. It is a question Onno Oerlemans explores in Romanticism and the Materiality of Nature, which finds the romantic “impulse to ‘know’” the natural world of rocks and mountains to result in a key dilemma, in so much as that world proves incapable of being resolved into distinct, categorizeable objects (195). Physical proximity to nature often reveals the observer’s epistemological distance from nature.

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Poets on Poets: Patrick Phillips, Ross Gay, and Philip Metres

Romantic Circles is pleased to announce the latest edition of its Poets on Poets archive and podcast. This quarterly edition contains audio and text files of readings by three contemporary poets: Patrick Phillips reading Wordsworth's "A slumber did my spirit seal" and from The Prelude XII; Ross Gay reading from Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell; and Philip Metres reading Shelley's "Ozymandias" and from Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell. As always, the readings are available as free MP3 downloads from the Website:

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NCSA Emerging Scholars Award

The work of emerging scholars represents the promise and long-term future of interdisciplinary scholarship in 19th-century studies. In recognition of the excellent publications of this constituency of emerging scholars, the Nineteenth Century Studies Association (NCSA) announces the creation of the Emerging Scholars Award.

This award recognizes an outstanding article or essay published within five years of the author's doctorate. Entries can be from any discipline focusing on any aspect of the long 19th century (the French Revolution to World War I), must be published in English or be accompanied by an English translation, and must be by a single author.

The winner will receive $500 to be presented at the following annual meeting of the NCSA. Prize recipients need not be members of the NCSA, but are encouraged to attend the conference to receive the award.

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New Editor for John Clare Society Journal

The John Clare Society Journal has a new editor and address (see below). This scholarly annual journal is fully peer reviewed, MLA listed, and is distributed worldwide to c. 600 subscribers. An index for past issues and further details for submission of articles can be found at (follow the link to "Clare Journal").

Simon Kovesi
Editor, John Clare Society Journal
Dept. of English, Oxford Brookes University
Oxford, OX3 0BP, UK

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NCSA 2008 Article Prize


The Nineteenth Century Studies Association (NCSA) is pleased to announce the 2008 Article Prize, which recognizes excellence in scholarly studies from any discipline focusing on any aspect of the long 19th century (French Revolution to World War I). The winner will receive a cash award of $500 to be presented at the annual meeting of NCSA hosted this year by Florida International University, Miami, FL, April 3-5, 2008.

Articles published between September 1, 2006 and August 31, 2007 are eligible for consideration for the 2008 prize and may be submitted by the author or the publisher of a journal, anthology, or volume containing independent essays. Submission of interdisciplinary studies is especially encouraged. The winning article will be selected by a committee of nineteenth-century scholars representing diverse disciplines.

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New Essay by Joseph Viscomi

Romantic Circles is pleased to announce a newly published essay by Joseph Viscomi, "Wordsworth's Dramatic Antipicturesque: Burke, Gilpin, and 'Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree." In this piece, which is available for reading on the Web or for downloading to your computer in PDF format, Viscomi offers a new reading of "Lines left upon a Seat in a Yew-tree," providing the grounds for thinking of it as a dramatic monologue critiquing Gilpin's idea of the picturesque.

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