The Green World
In Anatomy of Criticism, Northrop Frye examines Shakespeare’s comedies and finds in them a common mythic element, which he terms the “green world.” This is the world between “normal” worlds; it is both a space (often a forest) outside of society and a time outside of convention which allows characters, usually lovers, to find themselves and each other, so that they can be accepted in society and reintegrated into the “normal” world. But green worlds aren’t just Shakespearian; wherever convention is at odds with desire, a green world appears (sometimes in the guise of a fairy godmother, a letter from Dumbledore, or so on). Our task in CLit 240 will be to examine the “green world” as an imaginative space; we will begin by focusing on how authors construct a green world in the time and space of their novels and what purposes it serves. Then we will turn to the more ethical considerations of a “green” world; that is, how our fantasies of “nature” influence our treatment of the environment. Finally we will explore the green world as a gendered space—a convergence of desire and imagination—that either epitomizes or undermines power structures in the “real” world.