The Seasons: Philosophical, literary, and environmental perspectives
SUNY Press, US$95 hb, 287 pp
There is something quaint about seasons. They do not seem to trigger the same dread that we now experience when we hear the word ‘climate’. I think this is because seasons remain connected to that time in human history during which the annual variations of climatic conditions were evidence of an underlying stability in the world and of nature’s constancy. The Seasons, a collection of essays edited by Luke Fischer and David Macauley, is an attempt to think through the ongoing role that seasons have within human imaginaries. Both editors are philosophers and the book is mainly grounded in forms of analytic philosophy insofar as seasons (and seasonality) are posited as concepts susceptible to abstract contemplation. The approach is inflected by a certain eclecticism of thought and example, but there is also an underlying intellectual and tonal consistency. The prominence of Goethe, Hölderlin, Keats, and Thoreau within the book, for instance, firmly roots the contributions within the romantic imagination. Other key reference points in the book – Rilke, Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Rachel Carson – remain within the long shadow of European romanticism.