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Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four

10. Nature and Ecocriticism

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About this Lecture


In this module, we think about the presentation of nature and the natural world in the novel, focusing in particular on: (i) the literary theory of ecocriticism; (ii) the cultural, geographical and political embeddedness of concepts such as ‘nature’, ‘the natural’ and ‘the environment’; (iii) Francis Bacon and the image of man’s ‘dominion’ over nature; (iv) the relationship between Ingsoc and nature; (v) the extent to which Winston dreams of the natural world; (vi) the vision of the natural world evoked by the name ‘Orwell’ (the name of a river in Suffolk), and Orwell’s own engagement with nature; (vii) the increasing amount of ‘man-made’ food in the 1930s and 40s, which Orwell (and many others) saw as inferior to ‘the real things’, e.g. margarine versus butter; and (viii) the politics of food in the novel.


In this course, Dr Adam Stock (York St John University) explores George Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four. The first four modules cover historical and literary context, including the genre of the novel, the life and career of George Orwell himself, and the political ideologies that were swirling round Europe in thirties and forties and which left their mark on the novel. The following four modules focus on the text itself, thinking about its structure, and how it engages with the concepts of time and space, history and memory, epistemology and ontology and power and language. In the final three modules, we think about some critical approaches to the novel, focusing in particular on Orwell’s presentation of nature and the natural world, and of female characters in the novel.


Dr Adam Stock is Senior Lecturer in English Literature at York St John University. As a researcher, he specialises in the interdisciplinary areas of utopian studies, science fiction and modernisms. His book Dystopian Fiction and Political Thought: Narratives of World Politics (2019) examined dystopian fiction from the first half of the twentieth century, while he is currently interested in questions about boundaries and borderlands, spatialisation, and the temporalities of speculative fiction in the twentieth and twenty-first century.

Cite this Lecture

APA style

Stock, A. (2021, February 16). Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four - Nature and Ecocriticism [Video]. MASSOLIT.

MLA style

Stock, A. "Orwell: Nineteen Eighty-Four – Nature and Ecocriticism." MASSOLIT, uploaded by MASSOLIT, 16 Feb 2021,