This article explores the links between Gaston Bachelard’s work and certain points of debate at the heart of literary ecocriticism. Bachelard’s work highlights the methodological importance of separating that which pertains to the realm of ‘material imagination’ and that which pertains to ‘instructed materialism’, but it is possible that a deep articulation of these domains may be glimpsed in the context of ecological issues. Building on work by Jonathan Bate, the further development of ecocritical approaches inspired by Bachelard’s phenomenology could contribute to highlighting the possible roles of the imagination in generating awareness of vital interconnections between individuals and their environments. It is also possible to envisage an extension of such an approach, by which consideration would be given to how literary works explore the “archetypal drama” of the individual conscience in tension with the system of trans-individual interdependences of which it is a part.
Keywords: Gaston Bachelard, ecology, ecocriticism, phenomenology, literature, environment