Because American ecocriticism, as a movement, is only about a dozen years old,
generalizations about it are hard to make and still harder to validate.1 So I want to
begin, not by describing the principles and practices of ecocriticism in any detail (in
fact, that is something I want to delay, especially as regards the practices, until chapter
four), but by looking at what seems to be, for many of its adherents, ecocriticism’s
moment of origin, which is threefold in its implications.