1st Edition

Storying the Ecocatastrophe Contemporary Narratives about the Environmental Collapse

Edited By Helena Duffy, Katarina Leppänen Copyright 2024
    296 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    How do writers and artists represent the climate catastrophe so that their works stir audiences to political action or at least raise their environmental awareness without, however, appearing didactic? Storying the Ecocatastrophe attempts to answer this question while interrogating the potential of narrative to become a viable political force. It achieves this by examining the representational strategies and ideological goals of contemporary cultural productions about climate change. These productions have been created across different genres, such as the traditional novel, dance performance, solarpunk, economic report, collage, and space opera, as well as across different languages and cultures. The volume’s twelve chapters demonstrate that rising temperatures, erratic weather, extinction of species, depletion of resources, and coastal erosion and flooding are an effect of our abusive relationship with nature. They also show that our use of nuclear power, extraction of natural resources and extensive farming, including heavy reliance on pesticides, intersect with interhuman violence, as fleshed out by heteropatriarchy, racism, colonialism, and capitalism. They finally argue that human activity has indirectly contributed to other contemporary crises, namely the migrant crisis and the spread of contagious diseases such as Covid-19.


    Storying the Ecocatastrophe: From Doom-and-Gloom Scenarios to Messages of Hope

    Helena Duffy

    Chapter 1

    Daily Life and Global Crisis: Human Experience and Narrative Fiction in the Age of the Anthropocene

    Markku Lehtimäki

    Chapter 2

    Feelings of Hope and Helplessness in Knut Faldbakken’s and Maja Lunde’s Climate Change Novels: An Econarratological Reading

    Georgiana Bozîntan

    Chapter 3

    Narrating the Economic Value of Nature in the Anthropocene

    Xin Liu

    Chapter 4

    Building a New World on the Ruins of Helsinki: Critical Utopia in Annika Luther’s The City of the Homeless

    Katarina Leppänen

    Chapter 5

    Extreme Climate and the Anthropocentric Conception of Agency in Cinematic Ocean Planets

    Faeze Rezaii

    Chapter 6

    The Radiant Future vs The End of History: The (Eco)politics of Antoine Volodine’s Radiant Terminus

    Helena Duffy

    Chapter 7

    The Nuclear Disaster as Metaphor for the Impending Ecocatastrophe in Anticipatory Fiction from Luxembourg

    Sébastian Thiltges

    Chapter 8

    Speculating on Ecological Futures: Narratives of Hope and Multispecies Justice in Contemporary Ecofiction

    Elizabeth Tavella

    Chapter 9

    Nature and Masculinity in Barbara Kingsolver’s Prodigal Summer: Writing an Ethical Shift in Environmental Perception

    Chloé Bour-Lang

    Chapter 10 Backward Looking is Necessarily Organic: Female Artists Revisit Traumatic Pasts and Reimagine Present and Future Alliances Katarzyna Bojarska

    Chapter 11

    ‘Ruined and Wrecked!’: Annie Proulx Confronts the Ecocatastrophe

    Hannah Jocelyn

    Chapter 12

    Congolese Anthropocenes, Wounds of Extraction, Arts of Resistance: Transcultural Materialism in Fiston Mujila’s Tram 83 and Sammy Baloji’s The Beautiful Time

    Spring Ulmer


    One Must Cultivate One’s Own Garden

    Helena Duffy


    Helena Duffy (MSt Oxon, PhD Oxford Brookes) is Professor of French at the University of Wrocław, Poland. In her career, she has lectured at the University of Hull, the University of Queensland, Royal Holloway, and the University of Turku, Finland. She has held the prestigious Marie-Curie Individual Fellowship, the Fernandes Fellowship (University of Warwick), and served as Visiting Professor at the Université Blaise-Pascal in France. Her research on the cultural representations of World War II and the Holocaust has resulted in the publication of the monographs World War II in Andreï Makine’s Historiographic Metafiction (Brill, 2018) and The Holocaust in French Postmodern Fiction (Legenda, 2022). She has edited issues of French Forum, Journal of Holocaust Research, and Eastern European Holocaust Studies, and, with Avril Tynan, has co-edited a collection of essays Trauma, Ethics, Hermeneutics (Legenda, 2024). She is currently preparing a monograph on the representations of the forest in Holocaust literature and cinema, and, with David Tollerton, is co-editing a special issue of Holocaust Studies dedicated to the links between genocide and ecocide.

    Katarina Leppänen is Professor of Intellectual History and the Head of the Department of Literature, Intellectual History and Religion at the University Gothenburg, Sweden. Her doctoral thesis was on the feminist Elin Wägner and the European feminist movement in the interwar era, especially focusing on issues of alternative social orders and ecological feminist ideas. Leppänen’s research covers question of women’s independent nationality, education for internationalism, and trafficking in women in the interwar era. Her ongoing project deals with the importance of literary transnational, international, and regional exchanges in the Nordic and Baltic countries in the early twentieth century. Titled ‘Cosmopolitan and Vernacular Dynamics in World Literature’, the project is funded by the Swedish Foundation for Humanities and Social Sciences.