The Eye of the Crocodile

Authored by:
  • Val Plumwood
ISBN (print): 9781922144164
ISBN (online): 9781922144171
Publication date: November 2012
Notes: Edited by Lorraine Shannon
Imprint: ANU Press

Val Plumwood was an eminent environmental philosopher and activist who was prominent in the development of radical ecophilosophy from the early 1970s until her death in 2008. Her book Feminism and the Mastery of Nature (1992) has become a classic.

In 1985 she was attacked by a crocodile while kayaking alone in the Kakadu national park in the Northern Territory. She was death rolled three times before being released from the crocodile’s jaws. She crawled for hours through swamp with appalling injuries before being rescued. The experience made her well placed to write about cultural responses to death and predation.

The first section of The Eye of the Crocodile consists of chapters intended for a book on crocodiles that remained unfinished at the time of Val’s death. The remaining chapters are previously published papers brought together to form an overview of Val’s ideas on death, predation and nature.


Philip Hall, writing for Plumwood Mountain Journal, reviews The Eye of the Crocodile, by Val Plumwood, edited by Lorraine Shannon. Hall writes:

‘Val Plumwood (1939–2008) is a highly original and important postcolonial, ecocritical and feminist scholar, and activist. She writes with great clarity, heightening the drama of her philosophical investigations in wonderfully evocative descriptions of walking, camping and canoeing through places of astounding natural beauty.’ And concludes:

‘The Eye of the Crocodile is a wonderful read fusing so successfully a politically engaged autobiography with philosophical argument.’

(Philip Hall, review of The Eye of the Crocodile by Val Plumwood, edited by Lorraine Shannon Plumwood Mountain, An Australian Journal of Ecopoetry and Ecopoetics, Volume 3, Number 1, September 2015)