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More important for my argument than Darwin's specific descriptions of the sexual life of plants are his views, most clearly summarized in the poetry and footnotes of The Temple of Nature about natural pleasures. In this work, Darwin clearly describes pleasure in any one part of animate creation as an aspect of pleasure extending through the whole of the terrestrial biosphere: "From the innumerable births of the larger insects, and the spontaneous productions of the microscopic ones, every part of organic matter from the recrements of dead vegetable or animal bodies, on or near the surface of the earth, becomes again presently re-animated; which by increasing the number and quantity of living organisms, though many of them exist but for a short time, adds to the sum total of terrestrial happiness" Temple , n.

Pleasure in the entire biotic realm is increased not only by the prolific reproduction of "insects" the word means "small creatures" to Darwin and microscopic organisms but by the death and organic regeneration of larger creatures: "The sum total of the happiness of organized nature is probably increased rather than diminished, when one large old animal dies, and is converted into many thousand young ones; which are produced or supported with their numerous progeny by the same organic matter" Temple , n.

Darwin also notes that the Pythagorean belief in the transmigration of souls derives merely from the organic and "perpetual transmigration of matter from one body to another, of all vegetables and animals, during their lives, as well as after their deaths" n. This chemical and organic movement of elements through the bodies of living creatures leads, over eons, to a unified and complete "system of morality and benevolence, as all creatures thus became related to each other" n.

What Darwin calls the "felicity of organic life," is a function of the "happiness and misery of [all] organic beings"; this felicity, he says, depends ultimately, on "the actions of the organs of sense" and on "the fibres which perform locomotion" n. Every living thing, Darwin concludes, is subject to "immediate sources" of "pains and pleasures," the encouragement or avoidance of which might "increase the sum total of organic happiness" n.

Pain and pleasure, he goes on to argue, are a function of the expansion and contraction of nerve and muscles fibers of sensation, organic elements which exist in all living things, albeit in a variety of forms and intensities. All emotional responses - pleasure, pain, happiness, sadness - are thus based solely on the motion of material parts of each life form.

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Finally, and perhaps most dramatically, Darwin's understanding of geology leads him to conclude that the planet itself is a record of the pleasures of earlier ages of animate beings: "Not only the vast calcerous provinces. But as those remains of former life are not again totally decomposed.

More dry land over eons, more living things century upon century, more happiness produced from millennium to millennium. At this point, Darwin breaks down the boundary between organic and inorganic as part of his wider economy of nature, what we might now call his "ecology. Darwin also argues that the plant and animal kingdoms are connected by the possibility of sensation.

In Zoonomia , he describes "Vegetable Animation": "The fibres of the vegetable world, as well as those of the animal, are excitable into a variety of motions by irritations of external objects. This appears particularly in the mimosa or sensitive plant , whose leaves contract on the slightest injury " I, The general tendency of these motion is to arrest [i. The conclusion Darwin draws is obvious: "the individuals of the vegetable world may be considered as inferior or less perfect animals" I, The belief that sensation might spread through all of animate creation was widely discussed in Europe and America throughout the eighteenth century by natural scientists, natural theologians, and poets, among others.

As Christoph Irmscher has written recently, this was an age "that ascribed sensitivity, even souls, to plants" But as Erasmus Darwin suggested, the point was not merely that plants might have souls, but that "souls" might turn out to be nothing more than complex combinations of material i. Georges Louis Leclerc, Comte de Buffon , describes many of the animals he catalogues in terms of human passions and intellect. Buffon's marmot "delights in the regions of ice and snow" His elephant is "susceptible of gratitude, and capable of strong attachment" and "loves the society of his equals" If "vindictive," the pachyderm "is no less grateful" Numerous writers were willing to extend pleasure even into the realm of lower life forms.

A compilation by several natural historians of insects includes comments such as the following: each insect, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, is "adapted for procuring its particular pleasures" 2 ; indeed, every insect, like every creature, "was formed for itself, and each allowed to seize as great a quantity of happiness from the universal stock. Animals, of course, had been connected to humans sensation and emotional response since ancient history : loyal dogs, sagacious elephants, wily foxes, diligent ants.

What was new by was the sense that these were not just rhetorical comparisons of behavior between human and animal realms, but that such observationally supported comparisons reflected a deeper - and organic - unity of all living things. Eighteenth-century talk about emotion and sensation in "lower" life forms was also related to an underlying philosophical monism, well articulated by Goethe.

In "the Experiment as Mediator between Subject and Object" Goethe offers a holistic critique of "living Nature" that was designed to counter the fragmentary quality of empirical science: "Nothing happens in living Nature that does not bear some relation to the whole. The empirical evidence may seem quite isolated, we may view our experiments as mere isolated facts, but this is not to say that they are, in fact, isolated. The question is: how can we find the connection between these phenomena, these events" Likewise, Goethe is willing to include "joy and pain" among the categories that are applicable to any "organism": "Basic characteristics of an individual organism: to divide, to unite, to merge into the universal, to abide in the particular, to transform itself, to define itself, and, as living things tend to appear under a thousand conditions, to arise and vanish, to solidify and melt, to freeze and flow, to expand and contract.

Genesis and decay, creation and destruction, birth and death, joy and pain, all are interwoven with equal effect and weight; thus even the most isolated event always presents itself as an image and metaphor for the most universal" So while observational science is suggesting that expansion, contraction, attraction and repulsion of tiny particles are physical properties of all living and perhaps nonliving things, the metaphysic of Romantic science argues that characteristics found in one part of nature are likely to exist throughout the entire natural system, albeit in differing - reduced or expanded - forms.

Oliver Goldsmith , whose A History of the Earth and Animated Nature was drawn largely from Buffon and other European naturalists, restrains himself from extending sensation into the realm of the inorganic, but he too indicates how widespread was the belief in common elements pervading the germ plasm, a unity behind the dazzling variety that characterized the animate world. He says that the prevalence of invisible living creatures, animals and plants too small to see, has led "some late philosophers into an opinion, that all nature was animated, that every, even the most inert mass of matter, was endued with life and sensation, but wanted organs to make those sensations perceptible to the observer.

The link between human and animal pleasure thus reaches well into the plant kingdom by the s, producing a view well summarized by Buffon himself: "it is impossible to finish our short review of nature [over 30 volumes! Pleasure described in one part of nature reflects the possibility, indeed the likelihood, of pleasure spread throughout all of nature. Now let us consider a poet like Percy Shelley , who can load every rift of his imagery with ore derived from the natural science of his age, often in ways that precisely link human and nonhuman "feelings.

Shelley adds a footnote to these lines that sounds as though it could have come directly from Erasmus Darwin: "the phenomenon alluded to. The vegetation at the bottom of the sea, of rivers, and of lakes, sympathizes with that of the land in the change of seasons" Shelley's science here may be wrong, but his imaginative insight links with the emerging science of his own time to produce an idea that is surely correct: organic activity beneath the waves has important - Shelley says "sympathetic"; we might now say "ecological" - connections to events on the land.

Similarly, Shelley's sky-lark sings with "shrill delight" l.


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Shelley's sensitive plant derives directly from Erasmus Darwin's reflections on the mimosa as a strange bridge between the plant and animal kingdoms. Yet Shelley goes beyond the mere ascription of sensation to the plant, suggesting a direct connection between this plant and certain sorts of human emotion of course, his real subject in the poem is clearly a "sensitive" poet like himself. The affinity of plants for other plants, and the image of plants as analogous to forms of attraction throughout the material universe, reaches an apotheosis in lines from Shelley's botanical poem.

These flowers. Of course, the suggestion that aspects of the entirety of nature might be analogous to human nature is as old as poetry itself. What is new in a poet like Shelley is the sense of how an emotion like pleasure can organically link humans with the nonhuman world.


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  6. Consider, from this perspective, Shelley's cloud, whose nourishing water offers sustenance to "thirsting flowers" and provides shade for delicate leaves in their "noonday dreams" ll. He also says that the "moist Earth" is "laughing below" l. Even a satiric and imaginative flight of fancy like "The Witch of Atlas" is shot through with precise details drawn from the natural science of Shelley's time, and linked to powerful "sympathy" between the natural and the human realms: "Vipers kill, though dead" l.

    The may-fly dies almost before it is born, and even the swan's song in the sun evokes a smile as serene as Mary's stanza ii. Wordsworth , in a famous passage from The Prelude , links a similarly "scientific" form of observation to a pleasure that is essential to the very definition of the poetic. Wordsworth sees this interaction as more than merely a symbolic representation of his inner states in the outer world.

    This is not, however, just watered down, Wordsworthian pantheism: his description of the unity of natural process owe as much to the natural science of the era as it does to his own emerging "theology":. A passage like this reflects the natural history of Wordsworth's time while also connecting his emotional and poetic power to similar powers that he attributes to the plants and animals around him. We should recall that Wordsworth's image derives not only from his own observation, but also from Dorothy Wordsworth 's journal text.

    Dorothy's recollection sounds initially like that of a natural historian: "The hawthorns are black and green, the birches here and there greenish but there is yet more of purple to be seen on the twigs. When we were in the woods beyond Gowbarrow park we saw a few daffodils close to the water side" Then, in an important transitional sentence, Dorothy reveals her "fancy" going to work on these objects of nature: "We fancied that the lake had floated the seeds ashore and that the little colony had so sprung up. But as we went along there were more and yet more and at last under the boughs of the trees, we saw that there was a long belt of them [the end we did not see erased ] along the shore, about the breadth of a country turnpike road" Only at this moment does Dorothy launch into the poetic possibility that these flowers can be more closely linked to human emotions than we might think, even as she gives up on formal grammar and syntax: "I never saw daffodils so beautiful they grew among the mossy stones about and about them, some rested their heads upon these stones as on a pillow for weariness and the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever glancing ever changing" , 15 April An earlier passage from Dorothy's journal reveals a similar connection of wind-caused motion, animation, and the link between human emotion and the natural world.

    The scene takes place during a winter wind on Grasmere Lake. I quote the passage in its entirely because it so clearly reveals the rhetorical movement from inanimate images wind on the water , to animate images "peacock's tail," "they made it all alive" , to humanized emotion applied to a flower "let it live if it can" :. A manuscript text from reveals just how far William is willing to go in linking his own sentiments about the nonhuman world to the natural "science" of his time, a science that could associate all animate and inanimate objects into a naturalistic unity:.

    Coleridge understands this connection between pleasure within the self and pleasure taken from the external world, although he describes the link more dispassionately and more ambiguously than even Wordsworth. We might call Coleridge's version of this phenomenon transference: that is, our own emotions can be transferred onto nature for psychological reasons.

    Here is Coleridge's clearest example: "A child scolding a flower in the words in which he had been himself scolded and whipped, is poetry - passion past with pleasure" Animae Poetae The child transfers his own enjoyments, and miseries, out onto the objects of nature that surround him. But we should remember that this is the same poet who longs passionately for what we might now call a unified ecosystem "all of animated nature" , a unity in "Nature" that he describes as a strange music of mind identified with joy:.

    #459 Skylark: old friend in a new land

    Coleridge connects romantic science to the pleasures of nature in precisely the ways I have been describing. His wild goat looks at the cataract "in awe" "On a Cataract," l. Likewise, the sympathetic creature described fraternally in "To a Young Ass" "I hail thee Brother " [l. Coleridge's most famous image in this regard is perhaps the transformed description of the sea-snakes in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner. The "joy" we feel within ourselves often seems to be reflected back on us by the natural world beyond us. Then again, as the always ambivalent Coleridge might say, maybe not; perhaps our feelings belong only to us.

    Notice how a poetic natural historian, the polymath Oliver Goldsmith, links human pleasure to animal pleasure in ways comparable to Coleridge. In the section of Animated Nature devoted to birds, Goldsmith says: "we now come to a beautiful and loquacious race of animals, that embellish our forests, amuse our walks, and exclude solitude from out most shady retirements. From these man has nothing to fear; their pleasures, their desires, and even their animosities, only serve to enliven the general picture of Nature, and give harmony to meditation" III, 3. Within a few pages, when Goldsmith claims that "the return of spring is the beginning of pleasure" III, 14 , he is similarly eliding the distinction between human and nonhuman pleasures.

    But Goldsmith also reminds us that the pleasure provided by nature is not always here for our benefit. In this vernal season filled with pleasures, he continues, the "delightful concert of the grove, which is much admired by man, is no way studied for his [human] amusement: it is usually the call of the male to the female, his efforts to soothe her during times of incubation; or it is a challenge between two males for the affections of some common favourite" III, Lest we mistake the birds as singing a song for our benefit, Goldsmith reminds us that bird-song is about bird pleasure in mothering or in copulation, not about the desires of poetic or scientific humans.

    Finally, let us consider Keats. By now we should appreciate that these are not merely hyperbolic flights of imaginative fancy. This is Keats describing the natural world as he understands it.

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    My suggestion is born out by an intertextual reference in Miriam Allott's note to the "wailful choir" of "small gnats" mourning in "To Autumn. These little creatures may be seen at all seasons, amusing themselves with their choral dances" The naturalistic rigor of Keats's own approach is confirmed in the opening of his nightingale poem, when a pleasure so sweet as to be painful derives from another organic being a bird and somehow echoes a unity in life, past and present. The speaker's heart aches. He is at once drowsy and numb. They arrived in time to convince Pike to stop, but Harrow had already escaped jail and arrived on the scene.

    The struggle on the roof caught the authorities' attention, and Oliver hooked Harrow and his girlfriend to a police chopper's rescue cable. Pike, unfortunately, accidentally activated the detonator, giving Oliver just thirty seconds to save both of their lives. The explosion that followed was mistaken for a fireworks display by parade-goers.

    Some time later, Oliver learned via the newspaper that Emerson had sold Queen Industries to a rival called Stellmoor Industries. When confronted, Emerson explained that he lost Queen Industries because he was too focused on keeping Oliver on track with Q-Core. He explained that Oliver had never been ready to accept the Queen legacy. Before Oliver could question that, one of his own arrows crashed through the window, and killed Emerson.

    A line attached to the arrow yanked Emerson's body out, and down onto the street, attracting the authorities' attention, and placing blame for the crime on Oliver. Hoping to escape to Q-Core to regroup with Naomi and Jax, Oliver was horrified to see the building explode with his friends inside, just after receiving a cryptic message suggesting that they had been forced to do something. Frightened, Oliver suited up in one of his safe-houses, and emerged to find himself at the mercy of a superior bowman calling himself Komodo , who claimed that Oliver had squandered his destiny. Oliver's life was saved at the last by a stranger called Magus , who claimed that Oliver was never supposed to have left the island he was stranded on.

    In order not to be found, Oliver hid in a shipping container, and woke to find a note from Magus urging him to go to the Black Mesa in Arizona. For help, Oliver sought out an ex-employee named Henry Fyff who was fired for stalking Naomi. Together, they returned to Queen Industries, where Oliver snuck into Emerson's office and discovered a secret room. In it, he discovered a photo showing his father with Emerson and another man on the beach of the island on which he was stranded for a year.

    Magus appeared, warning Oliver to go to Black Mesa for answers, before Komodo killed him, and offered a cryptic hint about something called the Outsiders. It was too late for Oliver to leave, though, as the police soon arrived. He attempted to rappel out through the still broken window, but Komodo cut the line, and he found himself plummeting to the ground. Though he survived the fall, the run-in with the police at the office made Green Arrow a wanted man. Unbeknownst to Oliver, Naomi had been kept alive, watched by Komodo's young but cruel daughter Emiko.

    She was forced to watch as Komodo caught up to Oliver and beat him within an inch of his life, while he admitted that it was he who murdered Robert Queen. Despite his weakness, Oliver managed to regain the upper-hand, until Emiko herself appeared, and saved her father with her own archery skills. As they escaped, Oliver passed out from the pain and blood loss of being pierced by several arrows, leaving Henry to rescue him.

    Komodo belonged to a group called the Arrow Clan, and his superiors were angered to learn that Oliver Queen still lived, warning him to complete his task, or return to Prague. Meanwhile, Henry discovered from the Q-Core feed that Naomi was still alive, and woke Oliver to tell him. Following the clues, Oliver determined that she was being held at the Queen Family Mausoleum, and set out, despite the fact that his wounds hadn't healed.

    When he found her, she had been rigged with explosives, and he left Henry to defuse them while he chased down Komodo. In their fight, Oliver thrust an arrow into Komodo's eye, but before he could unmask him, he threw a smoke-bomb and escaped. Naomi, freed of the explosives, insisted that she help Green Arrow as vengeance. Finally heeding Magus' advice, Oliver travelled to Black Mesa, where he was stopped on the highway by a sheriff, and knocked unconscious. He woke in the desert with nothing to his name and nothing to survive on. The man offered answers in the form of a hallucinogenic, giving Oliver visions of the past.

    His father had been obsessed with finding the home of the Arrow Clan, and had brought Emerson and his friend Simon Lacroix on a journey to find it. His obsession had left his company and family floundering, and bothered Emerson greatly. Magus appeared to Oliver in the hallucination, explaining that the Arrow Clan was just one of several clans from which the leaders were chosen to become members of an elite circle called the Outsiders. Each clan had a totemic weapon, and each leader wielded that weapon, which was said to imbue true enlightenment.

    Simon Lacroix had learned of this, and killed Oliver's father in order to make himself the leader of the Arrow Clan, following Oliver's own failure to follow in his father's footsteps. In fact, it had been Emerson who arranged to send Oliver to the island with nothing but a bow in order to force him to be ready for Komodo's eventual challenge. Magus warned that the pair would have to trust each other if they intended to bring down the Outsiders. In accordance with a vision of a three-headed dragon that Oliver saw, Magus advised him to seek out the second dragon in the eastern European country of Vlatava.

    With this in mind, Oliver returned to Seattle, giving up any hope of running Queen Industries, and deciding to fight against corporations as a street-level vigilante. Following Magus' advice, Oliver travelled to Vlatava, where the second dragon was supposed to be.

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    He and his friends assumed that the dragon would likely be connected in some way to the international criminal and ruler of the country; a man called Werner Zytle. After breaking into Zytle's compound, Oliver discovered a woman imprisoned in the basement. When she saw him, she initially mistook him for his father Robert, but soon realized that he must be his son. Their escape attempt was thwarted by Zytle, who had christened himself Count Vertigo.

    He seemed to be using electromagnetic energy to disorient them and alter their perception of balance. Thanks to some inventiveness by Henry Fyff, Oliver's quiver was used to detonate an EMP blast, to nullify the effects of Vertigo's power. Rather than fight him, the woman and Oliver escaped.


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