Women on Nature: 100+ Voices on Places, Landscape and the Natural World – edited by Katharine Norbury
What would happen, I wondered, if I simply missed out the fifty per cent of the population whose voices have been credited with shaping this particular ‘cultural form’. If I coppiced the woodland, so to speak, and allowed the light to shine down to the forest floor and illuminate countless saplings now that a gap has opened in the canopy… There has, in recent years, been an explosion of writing about place, landscape and the natural world. But within this blossoming of interest, women’s voices have remained very much in the minority.
For the very first time, this landmark anthology collects together the work of women, over the centuries and up to the present day, who have written about the natural world in Britain, Ireland and the outlying islands of our archipelago. Alongside the traditional forms of the travelogue, the walking guide, books on birds, plants and wildlife, Women on Nature embraces alternative modes of seeing and recording that turn the genre on its head. Katharine Norbury has sifted through the pages of women’s fiction, poetry, household planners, gardening diaries and recipe books to show the multitude of ways in which they have observed the natural world about them, from the fourteenth-century writing of the anchorite Julian of Norwich to the seventeenth-century travel journal of Celia Fiennes; from the keen observations of Emily Bronte to a host of brilliant contemporary voices.
Women on Nature presents a ground-breaking vision of the natural world which, in addition to being a rich and scintillating anthology that shines a light on many unjustly overlooked writers, is of unique importance in terms of women’s history and the history of writing about nature.