Nuclear Ecology along The Coleridge Way

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This article explores the ecologies Samuel Taylor Coleridge promoted during the three years he spent at Nether Stowey, Somerset (1797-1800), and considers how they might be applied to the modern nuclear landscape. Today, Coleridge’s cottage marks the start of the Coleridge Way, a 51-mile walk that encourages tourists literally to follow in Coleridge’s footsteps along the north Somerset coastline. The sightline is now dominated by the nuclear power station at Hinkley Point. The tension between the ecologies promoted by Coleridge’s Quantock verses and the nuclear threat to the local environment initiates new ways of reading the landscape through Coleridge’s poems. This article’s central claim is that reading Coleridge’s verse at the place which inspired it today can uncover an ecological intent that may contribute to a site-specific poetics of environmentalism for nuclear places. At this place, literary tourism becomes an act of environmental activism, where reading in place offers a way of re-articulating the natural and social ecologies that are key to maintaining an environmentally-minded Romantic vision for the (post-)nuclear age.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalNineteenth-Century Contexts
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jul 2020


  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge
  • Nuclear Ecology
  • Hinkley Point
  • Literary Tourism
  • Ecocriticism


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