Lycanthropic Landscapes: An EcoGothic Reading of Nineteenth-Century Werewolf Short Stories
As a hybrid creature, being both human and animal, the werewolf is in a unique position to interact with both rural and urban landscapes – yet this relationship is critically neglected. This article utilises an EcoGothic perspective to interrogate how werewolves influence these settings, specifically examining tales published in the long nineteenth century because this era underwent significant environmental changes, such as the Industrial Revolution, the introduction of new plants and animals, and the extinction of native species. Authors utilized werewolves, and in particular the short story form, to examine the impact these changes had. This article postulates that werewolf literature is representative of a nostalgia for a bygone age as a direct reaction to Industrialisation; that werewolf literature is the most apt genre to demonstrate a conflict between the human world and the natural environment because of its hybrid state; that werewolves prefer nature in both their animal and human forms, indicating an affinity for this landscape; that nature returns this preferential treatment through subtly influencing the narrative and by claiming back human settlements; and that this harking back to a purer ‘natural’ landscape pre-figures our own ecological outlook.
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