Nature in Ireland: A Scientific and Cultural History
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Nature in Ireland is an indispensable reference source, containing definitive histories of Irish botany, mammalogy, entomology, fish and fisheries, geology, meteorology, ornithology, woodlands, demesnes, and bogs. The essays reclaim the study of nature as a major contribution to Irish culture and a significant field of Irish studies, drawing out the links between scientific study, history, art and popular culture. Seán Lysaght explores the question of nomenclature in a bilingual society; Michael Viney gives a lively critical history of hunting, shooting, and other field sports; Dorinda Outram examines the relationship between the standard continental models of natural history and the Irish experience; John Feehan writes of the challenges of conservation and environmentalism; J.H. Andrews presents the history of the mapping of Ireland’s physical geography; David Cabot discusses the essential texts of Irish natural history; and in three magisterial essays editor John Wilson Foster traces the traditions associated with perceptions of Irish nature, elucidates the complex relationship of “nature and nation” in the nineteenth century, and, in “The Culture of Nature,” takes us on a dazzling tour from Yeats, Wilde, Kavanagh, and Heaney to the cultural implications of eco-tourism, deep ecology, genetic engineering, and artificial life. The essays are accompanied by more that fifty photographs, maps, paintings, and engravings that illustrate the visual culture of Irish nature. In Nature in Ireland, the disciplinary boundaries that have partitioned the study of nature are cleared away with wit, style, and scrupulous scholarship. It is a landmark publication in the study of Irish history, science, and culture.