"Guy Butler's Political Ecology: History, Appropriation, Alienation, Belonging"

2007. Journal of Literary Studies 23(4): 390-416.

This article explores various aspects of Guy Butler’s ‘ecowriting’ and ‘ecocriticism’. The first section considers his evocation of the relationship (or the rift) between natural history and human history. The second section addresses the problematic processes of ‘naming and taming’ – subduing, controlling and claiming ownership of the land – and the ways in which these inform and are informed by conquest and colonisation. The third section weighs Butler ’s shifting responses to the (in)hospitable African climate and landscape. In the fourth section, the ecological imperative driving much of Butler’s work is shown to complement his efforts to overcome racial and cultural divides in South Africa.