An Ecocritical Exploration Of The Unique Nature Of Early Modern Oceans In The Blazing World And The Tempest
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.