Framing in Literary Energy Narratives

In: Framing the Environmental Humanities
Axel Goodbody
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This essay is part of a wider project exploring the ability of frame analysis to serve as a common methodology for the description and analysis of oral, media, historical and literary stories about energy, in the context of today’s transition to renewables. Taking as starting point the typology of frames in , it applies the theory and methodology of framing to three literary texts depicting and reflecting on our changing use of energy. The first is Jim Crace’s recent historical novel, Harvest (), which tells the story of Britain’s agricultural enclosures; the second Charles Dickens’s classic depiction of the Industrial Revolution, Hard Times (1854). The third novel, which is examined in greater depth, is Ian McEwan’s account of the challenge posed by the transition to renewable energy today in Solar (). Sensitivity is demanded in approaching narrative strategies which can involve multiple, conflicting framings and merely implicit narrative perspectives. However, a focus on framing can, it is argued, foreground neglected aspects of literary narration, and give insights into the part played by literature and imagination in energy debates.

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