'Frontispiece to Erasmus Darwin’s The Botanic Garden, II. The Loves of The Plants. 1791 by Henry Fuseli. The pastoral ease and cooperation of this picture (including the plant-decked figure rising from the ground) suggests the kind of mutually supportive image of nature's parts often invoked in conceptions of nature's economy.
There is, of course, no necessary connection between organicist conceptions (like Nature's economy) and progressive or radical politics. Burke's defense of constitutional monarchy rests in so small part on an understanding of society in which traditions arise organically and cannot be suddenly changed without violent results to the various roots (in the clergy, government, etc.) that sustain and uphold the commonwealth. Romantic poets reflect this political ambiguity inherent within the idea of Nature's economy. Blake's poetry stresses the connections between all beings of the earth (focusing on a wide range of non-human animals in many poems), and this seems to go hand in hand with his radical politics. The young Coleridge also found a communitarian potential for universal brotherhood in his understanding of nature's economy (coupled with an ideal of a return to an adamic existence). But this same commitment to a vision of an interdependent social organism also underwrote Coleridge's later conservative turn and his advocacy for a natural clerisy, an elite group of educated individuals, who would distribute knowledge throughout the nation and uphold the social order. Conceiving of Nature as a vast economy suggests that interdependence characterizes the organization of both the human world and the world in which humans are part of a larger whole. As such, the concept of nature’s economy can be used to rule out radical transformation, as something which would disrupt the careful balances that sustain society and nature. But this concept can also be used to stress a communal political vision, in which all members of a community are bound to one another in fact and duty.
King-Hele, Desmond. Erasmus Darwin and the Romantic Poets. Basingstoke: Macmillan, 1986. Print.
Hutchings, Kevin. “Ecocriticism in British Romantic Studies.” Literature Compass 4.1 (2007): 172-202. Web. 9 Feb.
McKusik, James. “Coleridge and the Economy of Nature.” Green Writing: Romanticism and Ecology. New York: St.
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