Local Natures, Global Responsibilities

Ecocritical Perspectives on the New English Literatures


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 texts. 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.

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Local Natures, Global Responsibilities: An Introduction
(Re)Framing Ecocriticism(s): Topics, Theories and Transnational Tendencies
Vernon Gras: Dialogism as a Solution for the Present Obstacles to an Ecological Culture
Derek Barker: Green Fields: Ecocriticism in South Africa
Serenella Iovino: Ecocriticism and a Non-Anthropocentric Humanism: Reflections on Local Natures and Global Responsibilities
Alex Shishin: Utopian Ecology: Technology and Social Organization in Relation to Nature and Freedom
Emplotments of and Complots Against the Ecosystem
Jens Martin Gurr: Emplotting an Ecosystem: Amitav Gosh’s The Hungry Tide and the Question of Form in Ecocriticism
Nishi Pulugurtha: Refugees, Settlers and Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide
Sissy Helff: Sea of Transformation: Re-Writing Australianness in the Light of Whaling
Kylie Crane: Tracking the Tassie Tiger: Extinction and Ethics in Julia Leigh’s The Hunter
Claudia Duppé: Asset or Home? Ecopolitical Ethics in Patricia Grace’s Potiki
Anke Uebel: Imaginary Restraints: Michael Crummey’s River Thieves and the Beothuk of Newfoundland
(De)Colonized Nature(s)
Astrid Feldbrügge: The Human and the Non-Human World in Zakes Mda’s The Heart of Redness and The Whale Caller
Marion Fries–Dieckmann: “Castaways in the Very Heart of the City”: Island and Metropolis in J.M. Coetzee’s Foe
Michael Mayer: When Trees Become Kings: Nature as a Decolonizing Force in Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness
Silke Stroh: Towards a Postcolonial Environment? Nature, ‘Native’, and Nation in Scottish Representations of the Oil Industry
(Re)Framing Ecological Disasters
Mark A. McCutcheon: The Medium is ... the Monster? Global Aftermathematics in Canadian Articulations of Frankenstein
Greg Garrard: Reading as an Animal: Ecocriticism and Darwinism in Margaret Atwood and Ian McEwan
Giuseppina Botta: Faustian Dreams and Apocalypse in Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake
Ingrid–Charlotte Wolter: Science as Deconstruction of Natural Identity: Arthur Conan Doyle’s “When the World Screamed” and Margaret Atwood’s Oryx and Crake
Nils Zumbansen and Marcel Fromme: Ecocatastrophes in Recent American (Non-)Fictional Texts and Films
Nicole Schröder: Framing Disaster: Images of Nature, Media, and Representational Strategies in Hollywood Disaster Movies
(Re)Negotiating Eth(n)ic Spaces
Sawako Taniyama: F. Scott Fitzgerald’s “The Ice Palace”: Climate, Culture, and Stereotypes
Susanne Gruss: Sex and the City?: Ecofeminism and the Urban Experience in Angela Carter, Anne Enright and Bernardine Evaristo
Florian Niedlich: Travel as Transgression: Claude McKay’s Banana Bottom, J.M. Coetzee’s Life and Times of Michael K, and Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album
Ines Detmers: Global Minds and Local Mentalities: ‘Topographies of Terror’ in Salman Rushdie’s Fury and Shalimar the Clown
Notes on Contributors
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