The Seasons

Philosophical, Literary, and Environmental Perspectives

Edited by Luke Fischer & David Macauley

Subjects: Philosophy, Environmental Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Anthropology, Postcolonial Studies
Hardcover : 9781438484259, 288 pages, July 2021
Paperback : 9781438484242, 288 pages, January 2022

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Table of contents

List of Illustrations

Introduction: Thinking through the Seasons
Luke Fischer and David Macauley

Part I: Environmental Time

1. The Four Seasons and the Rhythms of Place-Based Time
David Macauley

2. The Seasons Embodied: The Story of a Plant
Craig Holdrege

Part II: Phenomenology and Poetics

3. A Poetic Phenomenology of the Seasons
Luke Fischer

4. Hölderlin, Heidegger, and Seasonal Time
Paola-Ludovika Coriando

5. Toward a Phen(omen)ology of the Seasons: The Emergence of the Indigenous Weather Knowledge Project
John Charles Ryan

Part III: Anthropology and the Arctic

6. Arctic Summer
Alphonso Lingis

7. Seasonal Affective Order: The Passage of Sense in Circumpolar Religion
Joseph Ballan

Part IV: Everyday Aesthetics

8. The Almanac Projects: Modeling the Seasons through the Material World
Jo Law

9. The Cycle of Seasons: The Temporal Structure of Fashion
Yvonne Förster

Part V: Decolonizing Literature

10. The Nature and Culture of the Seasons: Homage to Henry David Thoreau
Rod Giblett

11. The Decolonized Pastoral: Kinsella, Thoreau, and the Seasons
Tom Bristow

Suggestions for Further Reading

Pioneering essays that demonstrate the significance of the seasons for philosophy, environmental thought, anthropology, cultural studies, aesthetics, poetics, and literary criticism.


Although the seasons have been a perennial theme in literature and art, their significance for philosophy and environmental theory has remained largely unexplored. This pioneering book demonstrates the ways in which inquiry into the seasons reveals new and illuminating perspectives for philosophy, environmental thought, anthropology, cultural studies, aesthetics, poetics, and literary criticism. The Seasons opens up new avenues for research in these fields and provides a valuable resource for teachers and students of the environmental humanities. The innovative essays herein address a wide range of seasonal cultures and geographies, from the traditional Western model of the four seasons––spring, summer, fall, and winter––to the Indigenous seasons of Australia and the Arctic. Exemplifying the crucial importance of interdisciplinary research, The Seasons makes a compelling case for the relevance of the seasons to our daily lives, scientific understanding, diverse cultural practices, and politics.

Luke Fischer is an honorary associate of the philosophy department at the University of Sydney. His books include The Poet as Phenomenologist: Rilke and the New Poems. David Macauley is Associate Professor of Philosophy and Environmental Studies at Penn State Brandywine. His books include Elemental Philosophy: Earth, Air, Fire, and Water as Environmental Ideas, also published by SUNY Press.


"…The Seasons offers a rewarding read that is fresh and relevant, interdisciplinary yet focused. Its central theme, the seasons, is new for many philosophers and therefore begins to fill a gap in philosophical research." — Environmental Philosophy

"In a time of climate change, lack of awareness of weather patterns, and technological climate control in our homes and workplaces, this is an incredibly timely work. The collection of essays is original, valuable, and beautifully written. Not only did I enjoy reading them, I learned a lot along the way." — Gerard Kuperus, author of Ecopolitical Homelessness: Defining Place in an Unsettled World