1st Edition

The Poetics and Ethics of (Un-)Grievability in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction

Edited By Susana Onega, Jean-Michel Ganteau Copyright 2023
    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    242 Pages
    by Routledge

    The working hypothesis of the book is that, since the 1990s, an increasing number of Anglophone fictions are responding to the new ethical and political demands arising out of the facts of war, exclusion, climate change, contagion, posthumanism and other central issues of our post-trauma age by adapting the conventions of traditional forms of expressing grievability, such as elegy, testimony or (pseudo-)autobiography. Situating themselves in the wake of Judith Butler’s work on (un-)grievablability, the essays collected in this volume seek to cast new light on these issues by delving into the socio-cultural constructions of grievability and other types of vulnerabilities, invisibilities and inaudibilities linked with the neglect and/or abuse of non-normative individuals and submerged groups that have been framed as disposable, exploitable and/or unmournable by such determinant factors as sex, gender, ethnic origin, health, etc., thereby refining and displacing the category of subalternity associated with the poetics of postmodernism.




    INTRODUCTION: The Poetics and Ethics of (Un-)Grievability in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction

    Jean-Michel Ganteau and Susana Onega

     PART I

    The Presence of History

    1. Trading Relations, the Evil of Violence and the Ungrievability of the Other in David Mitchell’s The One Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet
    2. Susana Onega

    3. Undermining the Hierarchy of Grief in Rachel Seiffert’s A Boy in Winter
    4. Paula Romo-Mayor

    5. Escaping "Dead Time": The Temporal Ethics of (Un-)Grievability in Ali Smith’s The Accidental
    6. Katia Marcellin


      PART II

      Grieving the Earth

    7. "How bold to mix the Dreamings": The Ethics and Poetics of Mourning in Alexis Wright’s The Swan Book
    8. Angelo Monacarizti

      Bárbara Arizti

    9. From Elegy to Apocalypse: Ecological Grief and Human Grievability in Ben Smith’s Doggerland
    10. Angelo Monaco


      PART III


    11. Ungrievable Incest: Ecology and Kinship in Michael Stewart’s Ill Will
    12. Maite Escuero-Alías

    13. (Un-)Grieving Celestial in Toni Morrison’s Love
    14. Paula Martín-Salván


      PART IV


    15. What Remains of (Un-)Grievability in Hollinghurst’s and Tóibín’s AIDS Fiction
    16. José M. Yebra

    17. Overcoming Grief and Salvaging Memory: Rebecca Makkai’s The Great Believers
    18. Giulio Milone

      PART IV

      After the Subject

    19. Grieving for the Subhuman in Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro
    20. Sylvie Maurel

    21. The Grievability of the Non-Human: Ian McEwan’s Machines like Me
    22. Jean-Michel Ganteau




    Susana Onega is Emeritus Professor of English Literature at the University of Zaragoza and a member of the Academia Europaea. She has written extensively on contemporary British literature, narrative poetics, ethics and trauma. She is currently editing with Jean-Michel Ganteau The Brill Handbook on Literary Criticism and Theory.

    Jean-Michel Ganteau is Professor of Contemporary British Literature at the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3. He is the editor of Études britanniques contemporaines and has authored The Ethics and Aesthetics of Vulnerability in Contemporary British Literature (Routledge, 2015) and The Ethics and Aesthetics of Attention in Contemporary British Literature (Routledge, 2023).

    “The Poetics and Ethics of (Un-)Grievability in Contemporary Anglophone Fiction offers a strong and complete study of different modalities of (un-)grievability in a variety of settings that stands as both relevant and thought-provoking. The authors fulfil the task of providing a nuanced study of Butler’s critical concepts and the volume proves to be useful for anyone interested in trauma, vulnerability and grievability in a wide array of contexts based on timely issues. It succeeds in its epistemological task, and it constitutes a key contribution to the field.”

    - PAULA RUSTARAZO GARZÓN, for Nexus 2023