An Ecocritical Exploration Of The Unique Nature Of Early Modern Oceans In The Blazing World And The Tempest
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Early modern perceptions of oceanic space diverged from standard perceptions of nature on land (or land-nature) because oceans presented a different type of wilderness. Because oceans defied early modern definitions of nature, they refused to support the developing mechanistic approach in the way that land-nature did. My argument begins with a chapter exploring science and nature in the early modern period. My second chapter expands this demonstration with an exploration of The Tempest. Shakespeare's self-reflexivity and exploration of boundaries in representing islands and oceans exemplifies their liminal position within nature. In my final chapter, I examine Margaret Cavendish's The Blazing World to examine how the liminal position of oceans within the humankind-nature paradigm necessitated a hybrid mechanistic-organic relationship and representation. These explorations illuminate how oceans, as an extraterrestrial space distanced from traditional, terrestrial nature, constituted a different kind of natural phenomenon and contributed to a global mentality.