Few terms have garnered more recent attention in the sciences, humanities, and public sphere than the Anthropocene, the proposed epoch in which a human “signature” appears in the lithostratigraphic record. Anthropocene Reading considers the implications of this concept for literary history and critical method.
Entering into conversation with geologists and geographers, this volume reinterprets the cultural past in relation to the anthropogenic transformation of the Earth system, while showcasing the contributions literary analysis may make in conceptualizing this geohistorical event. The contributors examine how a range of literary texts, from The Tempest to contemporary dystopian novels to the poetry of Emily Dickinson, mediate the convergence of the social institutions, energy regimes, and planetary systems that support the reproduction of life. They explore the longstanding dialogue between imaginative literature and the earth sciences and show how scientists, novelists, and poets represent intersections of geological and human timescales, the deep past and a posthuman future, political exigency and the carbon cycle.
Accessibly written and representing a range of methodological perspectives, the essays in this volume consider what it means to read literary history in the Anthropocene.
Contributors include Juliana Chow, Jeffrey Jerome Cohen, Thomas H. Ford, Anne-Lise François, Noah Heringman, Matt Hooley, Stephanie LeMenager, Dana Luciano, Steve Mentz, Benjamin Morgan, Justin Neuman, Jennifer Wenzel, and Derek Woods.