World Environment Day – first post

June 5, 2008

My name is Olivia Smith and I am a PhD student at Queen Mary, University of London. Having become increasingly interested in the work of academics associated with ASLE, I have decided to start writing about the environment as it is described in the literature of the period I study.

To celebrate World Environment Day in London, it might be interesting to re-read John Evelyn’s Fumifugium (1661), which is ostensibly about the air of London, but also about currying political favour with a new monarch. The tract is available on EEBO of course, but there are also a short extract here if you want a taster. Mark Jenner has written an excellent essay on this piece titled ‘The politics of London air: John Evelyn’s Fumifugium and the Restoration’. His piece provides us with an early reminder of the complicated political undertones behind much so-called environmental writing.

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