Johns-Putra AG (2014) Care and Gender in a Climate-Changed Future: Maggie Gee's The Ice People, In: Canavan G, Robinson KS (eds.), Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction 7 pp. 127-142 Wesleyan University Press
Anthropogenic climate change, global warming, the sixth mass extinction event?whatever we want to call it?is now fixed in the science fiction imaginary: witness the recent success of Paolo Bacigalupi?s The Windup Girl (2010) and consider Kim Stanley Robinson?s near-future depiction of abrupt climate change in the ?Science and the Capital? trilogy (2004, 2005, 2007). Perhaps just as noteworthy is the recent spate of novels about future climate-changed worlds by authors who are not usually identified with science fiction. This includes writers of so-called ?literary? fiction on both sides of the Atlantic: Margaret Atwood, T. C. Boyle, Cormac McCarthy, Will Self, and Jeanette Winterson. Doris Lessing?s return to futuristic world-building in her ?Ifrik? novels is worth considering in this vein. So too is British novelist Maggie Gee, and the environmental catastrophe she depicts in her novel, The Ice People (1998).
Johns-Putra AG (2006) Home and the Harem: Early Nineteenth-Century Orientalist Representations of Women by Women, Nineteenth-Century Gender Studies 2 (3)
Johns-Putra A (2001) Heroes and Housewives: Women's Epic Poetry and Domestic Ideology in the Romantic Age (1780-1835), Peter Lang
This book examines a variety of women's epics of the Romantic age, from war epics to biblical narratives, from heroic poems to mock epics.
Johns-Putra AG (1999) Satirising the Courtly Woman and Defending the Domestic Woman: Mock Epics and Women Poets in the Romantic Age, Romanticism on the Net
Johns-Putra A (2010) Satire and Domesticity in Late Eighteenth-Century Women's Poetry: Minding the Gap, Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies 33 (1) pp. 67-87 Wiley-BLackwell Publishing
This article examines the work of four women poets in the 1780s and 1790s - in particular, the way they juxtapose the apparent triviality of the domestic with the more elevated concerns expected of the poetic or literary. In this analysis, this juxtaposition is aligned with the gap between low and high that characterises burlesque, a gap that is exploited to comic and even satirical ends in these poems. This poetic critique of domesticity is set against a backdrop of recent criticism that reads the late eighteenth century as a time when the domestic ideology of separate spheres hardened. © 2009 British Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies. Published by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Though it never names its ecological catastrophe, The Road is increasingly read as a climate change novel. I explore how this narrative of father and son walking a dead landscape speaks to contemporary environmental concerns. Adapting apocalyptic techniques, it contrasts a lost humanity (that is, being both human and humane) against present inhumanity, locating the measure of humanity in the father's care for his son. Thus, the novel resonates with contemporary anxieties about caring for the future, anxieties often expressed in the figure of the child. The novel's conclusion, however, affords the opportunity of rising above such anxieties.
Johns-Putra AG (1999) Christ as Woman's seed: Romantic Women Poets Rewriting the Bible, Prism(s): essays in romanticism pp. 59-81
Johns-Putra AG (2006) Gendering Telemachus: Anna Seward and the Epic Rewriting of Fenelon's Telemaque, In: Schweizer B (eds.), Approaches to the Anglo and American Female Epic, 1621-1982 pp. 85-97 Ashgate
While the relationship between place and creative effort has been the focus of pronounced new interest in various disciplines, the contours and co-ordinates of the process by which one informs the other, by which landscape shapes text and vice versa, have yet to be delineated in any systematic fashion. This volume sheds light on that process, investigating the ways in which it is both reciprocal and interstitial: how does text shape our perception of landscape as much as it is shaped by it, and how do we account for the points at which text and landscape intersect? The first part of the volume introduces us to the question of process in landscape and literary studies; the second part examines the moments within the process by which landscape and text come to bear upon each other; and the final part deals with the relationship between the material experience of landscape and the formal characteristics of a given text, using this to reflect back on the processes of landscape perception and creativity. This volume spans the disciplines of geography, literary studies, and the visual arts. It also brings together scholarly and creative perspectives, interspersing academic commentary with poetic-photographic essays.
This chapter is divided into nine sections, each providing an overview of a key critical concept for the study of Romanticism: canon, class, gender, imagination, nature, Orientalism, revolution, science and slavery. In each of these nine sections, the concept in question is discussed in terms of how it developed over the Romantic period in the work of both major and minor Romantic writers. Each topic is also discussed with regard to the changing landscape of contemporary Romantic scholarship and criticism.
This paper calls for a rapprochement between ecocriticism and what it often disregards as theory. Specifically, it argues for the relevance of genre theory, which explores the dynamic relations of author, reader, text, and the worlds they inhabit. Texts are locatable within the environment of a given genre; further, generic environments reciprocally shape, structure, and determine our sense of the wider environment. This paper offers a generically inflected reading of Kim Stanley Robinson's Science in the Capital trilogy, in which the representation of climate change is understood as a complex set of negotiations within the generic space of utopian science fiction. © 2010 Taylor & Francis.
Johns-Putra AG (2015) Historicizing the Networks of Ecology and Culture: Eleanor Anne Porden and Nineteenth-Century Climate Change, ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment 22 (1) pp. 27-46 Oxford University Press
This essay contends that historicized textual analysis must account for the interlaced cultural and environmental conditions of a text?s composition and publication. Focusing on Eleanor Anne Porden?s The Arctic Expeditions (1818) as a depiction of global climate change, I demonstrate the extent to which discursive and ecological events are networked, and the significance of any given node within that network. I contextualize Porden?s poem within the polar publicity campaigns of Admiralty second secretary John Barrow and unprecedented ice-melt caused by the Tambora eruption in 1816, as well as alongside Porden?s quest for recognition as a woman of science and letters.
In the last five years, climate change has emerged as a dominant theme in literature and, correspondingly, in literary studies. Its popularity in fiction has given rise to the term cli-fi, or climate change fiction, and speculation that this constitutes a distinctive literary genre. In theatre, the appearance of several big-name productions from 2009 to 2011 has inspired an increase in climate change plays. There has been a growing trend, too, of climate change poetry, thanks to the rise of ecopoetry (poetry that exhibits ecological awareness and engages with the world?s current state of environmental degradation) and the launch of some key climate change poetry initiatives in the media. This prevalence of climate change literature has brought about a greater engagement with climate change in literary studies, notably the environmentally-oriented branch of literary studies called ecocriticism. The increasing number of ecocritical analyses of climate change literature, particularly novels, is helping to shape a canon of climate change fiction. In a separate development, there has been greater interest in the phenomenon of climate change in literary or critical theory (the branch of literary studies concerned with literary concepts and philosophies rather than with literary texts). This development?centred on the study of climate change as a philosophical or existentialist problem?is sometimes termed climate change criticism or critical climate change.
Bergthaller H, Emmett R, Johns-Putra AG, Kneitz A, Lidström S, McCorristine S, Pérez Ramos I, Phillips D, Rigby K, Robin L (2014) Mapping Common Ground: Ecocriticism, Environmental History, and the Environmental Humanities, Environmental Humanities 5 (1) pp. 261-276 the University of New South Wales, Australia.
The emergence of the environmental humanities presents a unique opportunity for scholarship to tackle the human dimensions of the environmental crisis. It might finally allow such work to attain the critical mass it needs to break out of customary disciplinary confines and reach a wider public, at a time when natural scientists have begun to acknowledge that an understanding of the environmental crisis must include insights from the humanities and social sciences. In order to realize this potential, scholars in the environmental humanities need to map the common ground on which close interdisciplinary cooperation will be possible. This essay takes up this task with regard to two fields which have embraced the environmental humanities with particular fervor, namely ecocriticism and environmental history. After outlining an ideal of slow scholarship which cultivates thinking across different spatiotemporal scales and seeks to sustain meaningful public debate, the essay argues that both ecocriticism and environmental history are concerned with practices of environing: each studies the material and symbolic transformations by which ?the environment? is configured as a space for human action. Three areas of research are singled out as offering promising models for cooperation between ecocriticism and environmental history: eco-historicism, environmental justice, and new materialism. Bringing the fruits of such efforts to a wider audience will require environmental humanities scholars to experiment with new ways of organizing and disseminating knowledge.
This article provides an overview of climate change in literature, focusing on the representation of climate change in Anglophone fiction. It then evaluates the way in which these fictional representations are critiqued in literary studies, and considers the extent to which the methods and tools that are currently employed are adequate to this new critical task. We explore how the complexity of climate change as both scientific and cultural phenomenon demands a corresponding degree of complexity in fictional representation. For example, when authors represent climate change as a global, networked, and controversial phenomenon, they move beyond simply employing the environment as a setting and begin to explore its impact on plot and character, producing unconventional narrative trajectories and innovations in characterization. Then, such creative complexity asks of literary scholars a reassessment of methods and approaches. For one thing, it may require a shift in emphasis from literary fiction to genre fiction. It also particularly demands that environmental criticism, or ecocriticism, moves beyond its long-standing interest in concepts of 'nature' and 'place', to embrace a new understanding of the local in relation to the global. We suggest, too, that there are synergies to be forged between these revisionary moves in ecocriticism and developments in literary critical theory and historicism, as these critical modes begin to deal with climate change and reimagine themselves in turn. © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
Brace C, Johns-Putra A (2010) The Importance of Process, In: Brace C, Johns-Putra A (eds.), Process: Landscape and Text 10 pp. 29-44
This chapter examines the process by which landscape and (written) text inter-relate, and therefore attends to the process of literary creativity. It explores the apparently ineffable, unknowable and ?unwritable? elements of the creative process. It focuses first on the writer as an agent in that process and then, via writers? accounts of landscape and text, considers the creative process in terms of a dialectic between two phases: a conscious, reflective phase of observing, planning, and researching; and an unconscious, unreflective phase often designated as ?inspiration?. That second phase becomes the locus of the ineffable aspect of creativity. By considering these two phases within a dialectic, we move closer towards an account of the unwritable aspect of the creative process. Thus, we respond, too, to the tension between representational and non-representational theories of landscape in cultural geography. In the final analysis, we offer two ways of approaching and discussing landscape and text based on two ways of constructing the creative dialectic ? the one dealing with the moments at which landscape and text inform each other, and the other treating of coincidences between literary and geographical forms.
Johns-Putra AG (2007) "Anna Seward's Translations of Horace: Poetic Dress, Poetic Matter and the Lavish Paraphrase, In: Dow G (eds.), Translators, Interpreters, Mediators: Women Writers 1700-1900 pp. 111-128 Peter Lang
This paper emerges from a project conducted between academics in literary studies and geography that explored the creative process amongst writers who write for pleasure. It seeks to understand writing as creative process as well as simply representation, recovering process as a part of creative making. Building on a long tradition of theorising process and creativity in literary studies, which has cumulatively discredited the idea of inspiration, this paper asks whether a fresh engagement between geography, literary studies and other work on creative writing can provide new insights into the creative process. Recognising that questions of representation have been pursued with different trajectories in geography and literary studies, this paper attempts to identify our common intellectual concerns as well as asking whether a rapprochement between questions of representation and non-representational theory can provide the stimulus for an enlivened account that recovers the place of inspiration in creative writing. © 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation © Royal Geographical Society (with The Institute of British Geographers) 2010.
Johns-Putra A (2006) The History of the Epic, Palgrave Macmillan
This is a narrative history of the development of the genre from antiquity into the present day.
This article examines the medievalist epic Coeur de Lion (1822), by Eleanor Anne Porden (1795-1825). The author reads this poem not simply for the way it draws on exhaustive research, but for the way it treats this research, invoking yet sidestepping the demands of historical accuracy. Specifically, Porden grapples with the challenges of representing Britain's chivalric past, exploring whether to adopt the feminized trappings of romance or to align herself with the objectivity of historical epic. In choosing the latter, Porden must struggle, further, with the challenge of transforming the historical Richard, moral blind spots and all, into an acceptable epic hero. Porden's struggle, heroic in itself, cannot help but work its way into the text. As such tensions come increasingly to express themselves as a conflicted relationship between poet and hero, Porden seeks resolution or, at the very least, relief in romance. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.
In today?s sociopolitical world, sustainability has become a ubiquitous term. It is also an intriguing term, incorporating both an immensity of vision and the minutiae of day-to-day life. But its slipperiness is manifest; does it mean the same thing to a farmer, a conservationist, a politician, or a multinational cooperation? Is sustainability a term whose meaning can be sustained? While much is written on sustainability across various domains, it has received little attention from literary scholarship, including from the burgeoning field of ecocriticism. One reason for this is that sustainability is often discussed in the context of broader issues such as food security or climate change. Another is the term?s contested usage, for example, in the disparity between its potential for safeguarding planetary diversity ? a concern of many ecocritics ? and its vulnerability to cooption within a neoliberal paradigm, whereby what seems mainly to be sustained is the possibility for business-as-usual. Sustainability is a profoundly problematic term. Yet, this in itself should invite literary commentary; indeed, such a response is now emerging. This collection represents the responses of leading and upcoming scholars to the question of how literary scholarship might engage with the sustainability debate. The essays in this book explore a range of approaches, from applying tools of literary enquiry in order to interrogate sustainability?s paradoxes, to investigating the ways in which literature envisages sustainability or plays out its tropes. For academic researchers and advanced students in environmental literary studies, this book offers a critical approach to sustainability.
To scan the now ubiquitous definition put forward by the Brundtland Commission is to realize that our construction of ?sustainability? is driven by a notion of care?care for the nonhuman environment enfolded with a concern for our human descendants. The rhetoric around our ideal response to climate change structures it as an ethical response. This essay proposes that, while so much of the ontology of the global ecological crisis called climate change has been closely interrogated, the ethics of care demanded in the name of that crisis has not been scrutinized in the same way. By ?care,? I mean a feeling of concern for the wellbeing and needs of others; by ?care ethics,? I mean an ethical position that takes this affective concern as its basis for action.1 Given that environmental ethics?the question of human conduct and its effect on the human and nonhuman environment?is a profoundly ontological project, accounting as it must for the perceived ontological difference between the human and nonhuman, this lack of ontological scrutiny is conspicuous, to say the least.
This essay thus offers a theorization of the care ethics of climate change and sustainability. It considers this through the ontological project of new materialism, paying attention to the new materialist tendency to discuss ontology as agency, and being in terms of becoming. I propose that care too has to be discerned as always becoming, that it is to be
considered?to invoke Heidegger?not as ontic but as ontological. And yet, pace Heidegger,
I suggest that, in an environmental ethics of care, care is more fruitfully thought of not as a condition for ontology (as in Heidegger?s Sorge) but as itself deserving of ontological query. Care is not the means by which agency occurs; it is itself agential.
Climate change is one of the most prominent symptoms of an age of unprecedented human impact on the biosphere?the age sometimes called the Anthropocene. In identifying humanity as a geological agent, the term ?Anthropocene? exposes the fallacy of human exceptionalism, reminding us of the entangled nature of human and nonhuman agency, and the vast and decidedly nonhuman proportions of human action. For, as climate change and other Anthropocene events make clear, the effect of humans on their environment will far outlast human dimensions of individual lifetimes and even historical epochs: some of the impacts of humans? activity?for example, species depletion?are irrevocable; others, such as polar ice-melt, are reversible (if at all) over immense durations of time. But in its recognition of the imbrication of human action with the biosphere (in all its human and nonhuman complexity), the concept of the Anthropocene captures a profoundly and existentially disturbing paradox. That is, even as we must confront the damaging illusion of human agency existing aloof and apart from nonhuman ?nature,? we must also consider how to recuperate a nuanced view of human agency that enables humans to engage more fully with the unprecedented crisis now engulfing human and nonhuman organisms and environments.
Bergthaller H, Emmett R, Johns-Putra AG, Kneitz A, Lidstrom S, McCorristine S, Ramos I, Phillips D, Rigby K, Robin L (2014) Mapping Common Ground: Ecocriticism, Environmental History, and the Environmental Humanities, Environmental Humanities 5 (1) pp. 261-276
Duke University Press
The emergence of the environmental humanities presents a unique opportunity for scholarship to tackle the human dimensions of the environmental crisis. It might finally allow such work to attain the critical mass it needs to break out of customary disciplinary confines and reach a wider public, at a time when natural scientists have begun to acknowledge that an understanding of the environmental crisis must include insights from the humanities and social sciences. In order to realize this potential, scholars in the environmental humanities need to map the common ground on which close interdisciplinary cooperation will be possible. This essay takes up this task with regard to two fields which have embraced the environmental humanities with particular fervor, namely ecocriticism and environmental history. After outlining an ideal of slow scholarship which cultivates thinking across different spatiotemporal scales and seeks to sustain meaningful public debate, the essay argues that both ecocriticism and environmental history are concerned with practices of environing: each studies the material and symbolic transformations by which "the environment" is configured as a space for human action. Three areas of research are singled out as offering promising models for cooperation between ecocriticism and environmental history: eco-historicism, environmental justice, and new materialism. Bringing the fruits of such efforts to a wider audience will require environmental humanities scholars to experiment with new ways of organizing and disseminating knowledge.
In 1971, activist-author Wendell Berry, writing about the Red River Gorge in his beloved Kentucky, invoked the trope of a natural world not granted by our forebears but on loan from our descendants?the biosphere held in trust, as it were, for generations to come (Unforeseen Wilderness 26). The re-publication of part of Berry?s work in Audubon magazine soon after (Berry, ?One-Inch Journey? 4) led to a mis-attribution of them to John James Audubon, and, in 1973, when Dennis Hall, an official at Michigan?s Office of Land Use, adapted them without citation, he was erroneously credited also. Similarly, Australian Environment Minister Moses Cass?s use of it in a speech to the OECD in 1974 (qtd. in O?Toole) meant that the adage has sometimes been ascribed to him. From the 1980s onwards, the phrase was quoted in speeches and reprinted on book-jackets and in report by-lines?by, among others, representatives of the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Wildlife Fund (Talbot 495). Paul and Anne Erhlich attributed it to the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (26) and an article in the Christian Science Monitor (Jones 23) assigned it to environmentalist Lester Brown of the Worldwatch Institute. The Los Angeles Times asserted that it was an Amish saying (Riley 5), United States Secretary of State James Baker named Ralph Waldo Emerson as its author (qtd. in Keyes L10), and the United States Council on Environmental Quality claimed the source to be Chief Seattle (qtd. in Keyes L10). 2 I have described these mis-attributions in detail not simply to offer an object lesson in the portability of provenance, but to suggest that this pithy aphorism has been so durable, so willingly and wishfully assigned to a range of wise and venerable sources, because it strikes a deep and resonant chord. The idea that our relationship with the biosphere is automatically a matter of posterity is a powerful one, and this quotation in particular achieves several important rhetorical tricks. It collapses a web of obligations?the interspecial and the intergenerational?into a single immemorial and apparently unthinkable strand of time. We are not simply construed as guardians of the environment for the environment?s sake; we are explicitly called on to steward it for this vastly distant future, while being reminded of our debt to those in the past. We are thus placed in a grand historical chain of obligations. This is a different version of posterity from John Passmore
Climate change is becoming a major theme in the contemporary
novel, as authors reflect concerns in wider society. Given the urgency
and enormity of the problem, can literature (and the emotional
response it provokes) play a role in answering the complex ethical
issues that arise because of climate change? This book shows that
conventional fictional techniques should not be disregarded as inadequate to the demands of climate change; rather, fiction has the
potential to challenge us, emotionally and ethically, to reconsider
our relationship to the future. Adeline Johns-Putra focuses on the
dominant theme of intergenerational ethics in the contemporary
novel: that is, the idea of our obligation to future generations as
a basis for environmental action. Rather than simply framing parenthood and posterity in sentimental terms, the climate change novel
uses their emotional appeal to critique their anthropocentricism and
identity politics, offering radical alternatives instead.
Climate change fiction is a new literary phenomenon that emerged at the turn of the twenty-first century in response to what may be society?s greatest challenge. Climate change is already part responsible for extreme weather events, flooding, desertification and sea level rise, leading to famine, the spread of disease, and population displacement. Cli-fi novels and films are typically set in the future, telling of disaster and its effect on humans, or they depict the present, beset by dilemmas, conflicts or conspiracies, and pointing to grave consequences. At their heart are ethical and political questions: will humankind rise to the challenge of acting collectively, in the interest of the future? What sacrifices will be necessary, and is a green dictatorship our only hope for survival as a species?
Each chapter in this volume offers a way of reading a particular literary text or film, drawing attention to themes, formal features, reception, contribution to public debate, and issues for class discussion. Popular novels and films (Kim Stanley Robinson?s Science in the Capitol trilogy, Michael Crichton?s State of Fear, Ian McEwan?s Solar, and The Day after Tomorrow) are examined alongside lesser known writing (for instance J. G. Ballard?s «proto-climate change» novel The Drowned World and Antti Tuomainen?s Finnish thriller, The Healer), and films not generally thought of as being about climate change (Frozen and Take Shelter).
The book, which includes an introduction tracing the emergence and influence of cli-fi, is directed towards general readers and film enthusiasts as well as teachers and students. Written in an accessible style, it fills the gap between academic studies and online blogs, offering a comprehensive look at this timely new genre.
The Gothic in the post-millennial period offers writers an anchoring point, a site of familiarity for the reader, in the midst of an evolving culture of reading. Moving beyond recognising the binary conception of old vs new media, at stake in this thesis is the reader?s approach to the text in light of digital developments to reading habits. The evolution of digital technologies that have influenced approaches to reading include our ability to process vast amounts of data in quick succession through hyperlinks, and the capacity to locate relevant data amongst an endless flow in a non-linear, multi-cursal format: recognised as ?browsing or ?surfing? the web. This style of reading is indicative of the pathways through a labyrinth: a key motif for the digital posited by a range of critics included in this thesis such as Pierre Lèvy (1997), Espen J. Aarseth (1997), N. Katherine Hayles (2008) and Marie-Laure Ryan (2015). For the post-millennial novel, it is the changes that have occurred in light of digital reading practices that has led to the re-birth of the reader, not as an individual, but as a collective. Readers of the multimodal novel are driven by the physical responses required of them by the Gothic mode in a moment of boundary transgression of the storyworld and actual world: a Gothic faultline.
In the following chapters, I locate the authors? use of familiar Gothic tropes in Mark Z. Danielewski?s House of Leaves (2000), Bret Easton Ellis? Lunar Park (2005), JJ Abrams? and Doug Dorst?s S. (2013) and Zachary Dodson?s Bats of the Republic (2015) as a way of situating the reader in familiar territory. These tropes anchor the reader?s navigation through complex narrative structures. It is then possible to identify the moment at which the reader becomes conscious of their direct involvement in the storyworld, an affective and physical experience that can be conceptualised through the Lacanian term extimacy. Spanning both the interior of the print novel and external digital platforms that expand the storyworld, I conceptualise the reader?s experience using Garrett Stewart?s (1997) ?Gothic of reading? to underpin the process of activation a reader of Gothic fiction experiences. Consequently, I argue that the reader is no longer a mere consumer of entertainment, but an investigator, collaborator, code-breaker, and sometimes even a translator. The Gothic, it seems, is the ideal mode to capture both the anxieties of the digital present whilst harnessing recognisable forms to ease readers into the demands of the multimodal novel.
Leading scholars examine the history of climate and literature. Essays analyse this history in terms of the contrasts between literary and climatological time, and between literal and literary atmosphere, before addressing textual representations of climate in seasons poetry, classical Greek literature, medieval Icelandic and Greenlandic sagas, and Shakespearean theatre. Beyond this, the effect of Enlightenment understandings of climate on literature are explored in Romantic poetry, North American settler literature, the novels of empire, Victorian and modernist fiction, science fiction, and Nordic noir or crime fiction. Finally, the volume addresses recent literary framings of climate in the Anthropocene, charting the rise of the climate change novel, the spectre of extinction in the contemporary cultural imagination, and the relationship between climate criticism and nuclear criticism. Together, the essays in this volume outline the discursive dimensions of climate. Climate is as old as human civilisation, as old as all attempts to apprehend and describe patterns in the weather. Because climate is weather documented, it necessarily possesses an intimate relationship with language, and through language, to literature. This volume challenges the idea that climate belongs to the realm of science and is separate from literature and the realm of the imagination.
This chapter is prompted by recent calls by historians and other scholars for new understandings of history in the Anthropocene; it asks what this might mean for literary realism, invested as it is in the depiction of the passing of time. History in the Anthropocene renders redundant the human-historical, individual-universal dialectic that has long been the hallmark of the realist novel. Following Ian Baucom, this chapter looks to Walter Benjamin?s conceptualisation of history for clues to a new form of literary realism. For Benjamin, a true understanding of history demands the recognition of the 'image' of history, a recognition occurring in a moment of 'arrest' or stoppage in the flow of time and of thought. This chapter speculates on the emergence in the Anthropocene of a literary realism that performs just such an arrest, taking its reader beyond conventional understandings of (human) history and time.
This chapter outlines the emergence of climate fiction and its key modes. It pays particular attention to the extent to which climate fiction has worked within the established conventions of literary realism, meeting the many representational challenges mounted by climate change. While it considers the extent to which realism is able to render the abstract and intangible phenomenon of climate change visible, it argues that there is also a significant body of writing on the subject which turns to alternative forms and narrative strategies in the effort to represent climate change, and manages to overcome some of the limitations of realism. In other words, where climate fiction meets the challenges of representing climate change, it has the potential to provide a space in which to address the Anthropocene?s emotional, ethical, and practical concerns.
This thesis contributes to a vein of scholarship that has begun to challenge the assumption that the ubiquitous extra-literary use of ?epic? in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries has severed the word from its original literary meaning and rendered it meaningless. While it does not deny that epic now frequently connotes little more than size, length or grandeur, this study also demonstrates that, in the greater number of cases, epic has been appropriated in order to associate new referents with ideas or qualities that were considered characteristic of the epic poem in the early modern period, such as fable, compositional unity, sublimity, genius and encyclopaedism. Part philological study, part cultural history, it traces epic?s origins as an extra-literary term to the eighteenth century, and explores how eighteenth-century phenomena, including the loosening of prescriptive criteria for literary genres and the emergence of mock-epic, precipitated a variety of different meanings and extra-literary uses of epic to flourish. Using examples sourced from a range of digital resources now available to map cultural discourse across this period, including Eighteenth-Century Collections Online, British Periodicals, Britain?s parliamentary Hansard and the United States Congressional Record, it illuminates the persistence of these meanings and uses of epic in cultural contexts as diverse as visual art, political propaganda, extreme sport, environmental conservation and software design, and, in the process, recovers the idea of epic as an important and understudied influence upon Anglo-American culture from 1700 to the present. Furthermore, the study reveals not only that extra-literary
use of epic has consistently been motivated by the desire to invoke the ideas and ideals that (re)shaped definitions of the epic during the eighteenth century, but that such deployments of epic have also, with remarkable frequency, continued to perform the cultural functions of the epic poem: championing a particular culture and determining and shaping its history.