1st Edition

The Anthropocene Approaches and Contexts for Literature and the Humanities

Edited By Seth T. Reno Copyright 2022
    194 Pages
    by Routledge

    194 Pages
    by Routledge

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    Perhaps no concept has become dominant in so many fields as rapidly as the Anthropocene. Meaning "The Age of Humans," the Anthropocene is the proposed name for our current geological epoch, beginning when human activities started to have a noticeable impact on Earth’s geology and ecosystems. Long embraced by the natural sciences, the Anthropocene has now become commonplace in the humanities and social sciences, where it has taken firm enough hold to engender a thoroughgoing assessment and critique. Why and how has the geological concept of the Anthropocene become important to the humanities? What new approaches and insights do the humanities offer? What narratives and critiques of the Anthropocene do the humanities produce? What does it mean to study literature of the Anthropocene? These are the central questions that this collection explores. Each chapter takes a decidedly different humanist approach to the Anthropocene, from environmental humanities to queer theory to race, illuminating the important contributions of the humanities to the myriad discourses on the Anthropocene. This volume is designed to provide concise overviews of particular approaches and texts, as well as compelling and original interventions in the study of the Anthropocene. Written in an accessible style free from disciplinary-specific jargon, many chapters focus on well-known authors and texts, making this collection especially useful to teachers developing a course on the Anthropocene and students undertaking introductory research. This collection provides truly innovative arguments regarding how and why the Anthropocene concept is important to literature and the humanities.

    Introduction: The Anthropocene and the Humanities

    Seth T. Reno

    Part 1: Approaches

    Chapter 1: The Deep Time Life Kit

    Lisa Ottum

    Chapter 2: The Two Households: Economy and Ecology

    Scott R. MacKenzie

    Chapter 3: Energy and the Anthropocene

    Kent Linthicum

    Chapter 4: Environmental Racism, Environmental Justice: Reading Resistance in Twentieth-Century Indigenous Literature

    Rebecca Macklin

    Chapter 5: The World is Burning: Racialized Regimes of Eco-Terror and the Anthropocene as Eurocene

    Nicolás Juárez

    Chapter 6: Trans*Plantationocene

    Nicholas Tyler Reich

    Chapter 7: The Anthropocene and Critical Method

    Stephen Tedeschi

    Part 2: Contexts

    Chapter 8: "One Life" and One Death: Mary Shelley’s The Last Man

    Matthew Rowney

    Chapter 9: Henry David Thoreau: A New Anthropocenic Perspective

    Robert Klevay

    Chapter 10: It’s the End of the World: Can We Know It?

    Tobias Wilson-Bates

    Chapter 11: Orlando in the Anthropocene: Climate Change and Changing Times

    Naomi Perez

    Chapter 12: Corporeal Matters: J.P. Clark’s The Wives’ Revolt and the Embodied Politics of the Anthropocene

    Kimberly Skye Richards

    Chapter 13: What Global South Critics Do

    Antonette Talaue-Arogo

    Chapter 14: Queering the Modest Witness in the Chthulucene: Jeff VanderMeer’s Borne (a New Weird Case Study)

    Kristin Girten

    Chapter 15: Contemporary Cli-fi as Anthropocene Literature: Kim Stanley Robinson’s New York 2140

    Seth T. Reno


    Seth T. Reno is Distinguished Research Associate Professor of English at Auburn University Montgomery. He is author of Early Anthropocene Literature in Britain, 1750–1884 (2020) and Amorous Aesthetics: Intellectual Love in Romantic Poetry and Poetics, 1788–1853 (2019); editor of Romanticism and Affect Studies (2018); and coeditor of Wordsworth and the Green Romantics: Affect and Ecology in the Nineteenth Century (2016). He has also published dozens of journal articles, book chapters, book reviews, and encyclopedia entries on eighteenth- and nineteenth-century literature, art, and science.