In the New Literatures in English, nature has long been a paramount issue: the environmental devastation caused by colonialism has left its legacy, with particularly disastrous consequences for the most vulnerable parts of the world. At the same time, social and cultural transformations have altered representations of nature in postcolonial cultures and literatures. It is this shift of emphasis towards the ecological that is addressed by this volume. A fast-expanding field, ecocriticism covers a wide range of theories and areas of interest, particularly the relationship between literature and other 'texts' and the environment. Rather than adopting a rigid agenda, the interpretations presented involve ecocritical perspectives that can be applied most fruitfully to literary and non-literary text. Some are more general, 'holistic' approaches: literature and other cultural forms are a 'living organism', part of an intellectual ecosystem, implemented and sustained by the interactions between the natural world, both human and non-human, and its cultural representations. 'Nature' itself is a new interpretative category in line with other paradigms such as race, class, gender, and identity. A wide range of genres are covered, from novels or films in which nature features as the main topic or 'protagonist' to those with an ecocritical agenda, as in dystopian literature. Other concerns are: nature as a cultural construct; 'gendered' natures; and the city/country dichotomy. The texts treated challenge traditional Western dualisms (human/animal, man/nature, woman/man). While such global phenomena as media ('old' or 'new'), tourism, and catastrophes permeate many of these texts, there is also a dual focus on nature as the inexplicable, elusive 'Other' and the need for human agency and global responsibility. Laurenz Volkmann is Professor of EFL Teaching at Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, where NAncy Grimm and Katrin Thomson also teach. Ines Detmers is a lecturer in English literature at the Technical University of Chemnitz.
Exploring environmental literature from a feminist perspective, this volume presents a diversity of feminist ecocritical approaches to affirm the continuing contributions, relevance, and necessity of a feminist perspective in environmental literature, culture, and science. Feminist ecocriticism has a substantial history, with roots in second- and third-wave feminist literary criticism, women’s environmental writing and social change activisms, and eco-cultural critique, and yet both feminist and ecofeminist literary perspectives have been marginalized. The essays in this collection build on the belief that the repertoire of violence (conceptual and literal) toward nature and women comprising our daily lives must become central to our ecocritical discussions, and that basic literacy in theories about ethics are fundamental to these discussions. The book offers an international collection of scholarship that includes ecocritical theory, literary criticism, and ecocultural analyses, bringing a diversity of perspectives in terms of gender, sexuality, and race. Reconnecting with the histories of feminist and ecofeminist literary criticism, and utilizing new developments in postcolonial ecocriticism, animal studies, queer theory, feminist and gender studies, cross-cultural and international ecocriticism, this timely volume develops a continuing and international feminist ecocritical perspective on literature, language, and culture.
Wandering Women: Urban Ecologies of Italian Feminist Filmmaking explores the work of contemporary Italian women directors from feminist and ecological perspectives. Mostly relegated to the margins of the cultural scene, and concerned with women's marginality, the compelling films Wandering Women sheds light on tell stories of displacement and liminality that unfold through the act of walking in the city. The unusual emptiness of the cities that the nomadic female protagonists traverse highlights the absence of, and their wish for, life-sustaining communities. Laura Di Bianco contends that women's urban filmmaking—while articulating a claim for belonging and asserting cinematic and social agency—brings into view landscapes of the Anthropocene, where urban decay and the erasure of nature intersect with human alienation. Though a minor cinema, it is also a powerful movement of resistance against the dominant male narratives about the world we inhabit. Based on interviews with directors, Wandering Women deepens the understanding of contemporary Italian cinema while enriching the field of feminist ecocritical literature.
Drawing on the latest debates in ecocritical theory and sustainability studies, Literature as Cultural Ecology: Sustainable Texts outlines a new approach to the reading of literary texts. Hubert Zapf considers the ways in which literature operates as a form of cultural ecology, using language, imagination and critique to challenge and transform cultural narratives of humanity's relationship to nature. In this way, the book demonstrates the important role that literature plays in creating a more sustainable way of life. Applying this approach to works by writers such as Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Herman Melville, William Faulkner, Toni Morrison, Zakes Mda, and Amitav Ghosh, Literature as Cultural Ecology is an essential contribution to the contemporary environmental humanities.
Critical Approaches to Joseph Conrad is a collection of essays directed to both new and experienced readers of Conrad. The book takes into account recent developments in literary theory, including the prominence of ecocriticism, ecopostcolonial approaches, and gender studies. Editor Agata Szczeszak-Brewer offers a comprehensive and comprehensible introduction to Conrad’s most popular texts, also addressing the most recent academic debates as well as the conversations about narrative and genre in Conrad’s canon. Students and scholars of Conrad, twentieth-century literature, and modernism will appreciate the clear, accessible prose by nineteen internationally recognized contributors who approach Conrad in different ways, from postcolonial and ecocritical perspectives, through explorations of gender, to psychoanalysis, narrative theory, and political analysis. Beginning with a biographical introduction by Szczeszak-Brewer, the collection offers an essay outlining the cultural and historical contexts that influenced Conrad’s fiction and an essay on reception of Conrad’s work. Following that, contributors provide critical approaches to Heart of Darkness, Lord Jim, Typhoon, Nostromo, The Secret Agent, The Secret Sharer, and Under Western Eyes. In these sections scholars offer insights about complex issues in Conrad’s fiction, ranging from the study of specific literary tools and narrative development in his books to the political theories in Conrad’s portrayal of the threat of terrorism and violent revolutions.
This bracing volume collects work on Italian writers and filmmakers that engage with nonhuman animal subjectivity. These contributions address 3 major strands of philosophical thought: perceived borders between man and animals, historical and fictional crises, and human entanglement with the nonhuman and material world.
The essays, poetry, and visual art collected here consider the more-than-human cultures of our multispecies world. At a time when humanity's impact has put our planet's ecosystems into great jeopardy, the book explores literary, sonic, and visual imaginaries that feature encounters between and across a variety of living creatures: beetles and bisons, people and pigeons, trees and spiderwebs, vegetables and violets, orchards and octopi, vampires and tricksters. Offering a wide range of critical and creative contributions to Human Animal Studies, Critical Plant Studies and the Nonhuman Turn, the volume seeks to foster new ways of imagining a more »response-able« coexistence on our shared Earth.
Bringing together scholars from English literature, geography, politics, the arts, environmental humanities and sociology, Imagining Apocalyptic Politics in the Anthropocene contributes to the emerging debate between bodies of thought first incepted by scholars such as Mouffe, Whyte, Kaplan, Hunt, Swyngedouw and Malm about how apocalyptic events, narratives and imaginaries interact with societal and individual agency historically and in the current political moment. Exploring their own empirical and philosophical contexts, the authors examine the forms of political acting found in apocalyptic imaginaries and reflect on what this means for contemporary society. By framing their arguments around either pre-apocalyptic, peri-apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic narratives and events, a timeline emerges throughout the volume which shows the different opportunities for political agency the anthropocenic subject can enact at the various stages of apocalyptic moments. Featuring a number of creative interventions exclusively produced for the work from artists and fiction writers who engage with the themes of apocalypse, decline, catastrophe and disaster, this innovative book will be of great interest to students and scholars of the politics of climate change, the environmental humanities, literary criticism and eco-criticism.
This book is the first ever collection about twenty-first century genre fiction. It offers accessible yet rigorous critical interventions in a growing field of popular culture and academic study, presenting new genres as a fascinating and powerful means of reading contemporary culture. The collection explores the history and uses of genre to date, analyses key examples of innovations and developments in the field and reflects on how these texts have been mobilised in teaching since the year 2000. It explores a range of new twenty-first century genres through a close reading of key examples, along with a broader critical overview at the beginning of each chapter capturing wider developments, contexts and themes. As a result of this contextual, text-orientated approach, the book promotes a broad appeal beyond the specifics of new genres and authors, and will contribute to a wider understanding of developments in post-millennial fictions.
This book examines how ideas about place and space have been transformed in recent decades. It offers a unique understanding of the ways in which postcolonial writers have contested views of place as fixed and unchanging and are remapping conceptions of world geography, with chapters on cartography, botany and gardens, spice, ecologies, animals and zoos, and cities, as well as reference to the importance of archaeology and travel in such debates. Writers whose work receives detailed attention include Amitav Ghosh, Derek Walcott, Jamaica Kincaid, Salman Rushdie, Michael Ondaatje and Robert Kroetsch. Challenging both older colonial and more recent global constructions of place, the book argues for an environmental politics that is attentive to the concerns of disadvantaged peoples, animal rights and ecological issues. Its range and insights make it essential reading for anyone interested in the changing physical and human geography of the contemporary world.
Unfinished Business is the first book to examine Italian mafia cinema of the past decade. It provides insightful analyses of popular films that sensationalize violence, scapegoat women, or repress the homosexuality of male protagonists. Dana Renga examines these works through the lens of gender and trauma theory to show how the films engage with the process of mourning and healing mafia-related trauma in Italy. Unfinished Business argues that trauma that has yet to be worked through on the national level is displaced onto the characters in the films under consideration. In a mafia context, female characters are sacrificed and non-normative sexual identities are suppressed in order to solidify traditional modes of viewer identification and to assure narrative closure, all so that the image of the nation is left unblemished.