John Parham Obituary, Death – John Parham was one of the people who helped establish British ecocriticism, but more significantly, he was a kind and compassionate human being about whom not a single negative thing can be uttered. His reserved modesty was countered by a profound and resolute radicalism that was effective in getting things done. He traveled from London to attend our meetings at Bretton Hall College, which is located in West Yorkshire and formed a UK branch of ASLE; he hosted one of our early conferences at the University of East London in the year 2000; and he produced a series of groundbreaking books that both established and quickly expanded the range of British ecocriticism.
However, his contributions to ecocriticism were most notable when he led the editing team at Green Letters. He succeeded Laurence Coupe as Editor of Green Letters in issue number 4 (Spring 2003) and took over the Editorship from there. John worked tirelessly over the course of twenty years to build a distinctive British ecocriticism in Green Letters. This ecocriticism was considerably distinct from ISLE in the United States, being more pragmatic, more daring, more unexpected, and more engaging. Green Letters, although allowing worldwide contributions, did not have internationalism as a purpose.
Green Letters produced what were sometimes the first collection of essays on their subjects at the cutting edge of ecocriticism through a series of themed issues, often with guest editors. These subjects included ecophenomenology and practices of the sacred (13), eco-musicology (15), junk/composting (18.1), digital environments (18.3), biosemiotics (19.3), performance and ecology (20.3), modern warfare (21.1), crime fiction (22.1), and cross multi inter trans (23.3). At the same time, classic topics that are overdue for an update were not ignored:
Ecologies of Victorian England (14), Pastoral (20.1), and Agriculture and the Environment (24.4). His twenty years of leadership were distinguished by a keen ear for new developments, a passion for theoretical studies, and a tremendous aptitude for collegiality; John handled a successful transition of the Editorship to Sam Walton and Alex Campbell with the customary care and attention that is typical of him.