1st Edition

Subterranean Imaginaries and Groundwater Narratives

By Deborah Wardle Copyright 2024
    252 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book interrogates the problems of how and why largely unseen matter, in this case groundwater, has found limited expression in climate fiction. It explores key considerations for writing groundwater narratives in the Anthropocene.

    The book investigates a unique selection of climate fiction alongside an exploration of hydrosocial environmental humanities through a focus on groundwater and groundwater narratives. Providing eco-critical analysis, with creative fiction and non-fiction excerpts interwoven throughout, and drawing on Indigenous Australian and Australian settler novels and poems alongside European, American and Japanese texts, the book illuminates the processes of ‘storying with’ subterranean waters – their facts, uncertainties, potencies and vulnerabilities. In a time when the water crisis in an Australian and worldwide context is escalating in response to global warming, giving voice to the complexities of groundwater extraction and pollution is vital. Drawing from non-representational, posthumanist and feminist perspectives, the book provides an important contribution to transnational, comparative climate fiction analysis, enabling an interdisciplinary exchange between hydrogeological science and the eco-humanities.

    This book is an engaging read for scholars and students in creative writing, environmental humanities, cultural and post-colonial studies, Australian studies, and eco-critical literary studies. Writers and thinkers addressing the problems of the Anthropocene are called to pay attention to the importance of subterranean imaginaries and groundwater narratives.

    1. The Water Cycle: Introduction

    2. The Water Table: Ways of Knowing and Not Knowing Groundwater in the Anthropocene

    3. Springs and Seeps: Storying With

    4. Hydrogeology: Groundwater Narratives and Hydrogeology

    5. Porosity: Place and New Nature Writing

    6. Permeability: Affect

    7. Groundwater-Dependent Ecosystems: Literary Activism


    Deborah Wardle teaches environmental literature and writing RMIT and Creative Writing at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She is a researcher, with numerous projects completed, including with the Office of Indigenous Education and Engagement at RMIT University and the 'Groundwater Narratives' project with Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute at Melbourne University. She has had stories and peer-reviewed articles published in Australian and international journals including Meanjin, Overland, The Big Issue, Meniscus, Mosaic (Canada), Fusion, Swamphen (ASLEC-ANZ), and Animal Studies Journal.