The new wave of nature writing has its critics. Phrases such as ‘bourgeois escapism’ have been tossed around
Then maybe there’s an increasing desire for some kind of materiality in an increasingly digital world. We want to get our hands dirty in some way.
I think this might be key. Macdonald reminds us in H Is For Hawk that the revival of interest in nature writing in the 1930s was born out of the trauma of the First World War and a fear of the next. So could the current revival have anything to do with the financial crash of 2008 and how it ended confidence in a particular mode of capitalist life?
Something that Kathleen Jamie once said has stuck in my mind: “I feel I might be striking a tiny blow by getting out into these places, and developing a language and a way of seeing which is not theirs but ours. And when we do that – step outdoors, and look up – we’re not little cogs in the capitalist machine. It’s the simplest act of resistance and renewal.”
For some, then, nature writing is a way to stake a claim on the world.