1st Edition

The Routledge Companion to Literatures and Crisis

    490 Pages 7 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    The Routledge Companion to Literatures and Crisis provides deep insight into a complex and multi-layered phenomenon. The third decade of the twenty-first century is being marked by a polycrisis caused by various world crises, such as the Covid-19 pandemic, armed conflicts, and climate change leading to economic, geopolitical, environmental, health and security crises.

    Featuring 42 chapters, the collection examines crises through literary texts in relation to the environment, finance, migration and diaspora, war, human rights, values and identity, health, politics, terrorism, and technology. It illuminates the many faces of the current permacrisis as well as the multifarious crises of the past and their representation in literatures across ages and cultures—from the Viking wars, Black Death in mediaeval Europe, technology in ancient China and the crisis of power in Elizabethan England to imperial biopower in nineteenth-century India, the genocides in the twentieth century, upsurge of domestic violence during the Covid lockdown in Spain and the development of AI.

    The Companion connects diverse cultures, disciplines and academic traditions to show how and why literature, media, and art can voice all types of crises across times. It will be a key resource for students and researchers in a broad range of areas including literature, film studies, narrative studies, cultural studies, international politics and ecocriticism.

    Chapters: Chapter 6 of this book is freely available as a downloadable Open Access PDF at http://www.taylorfrancis.com under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) 4.0 license.

    List of Contributors


    Introduction: Literature and crises across historical scales

    Julia Kuznetski, Chiara Battisti, Silvia Pellicer-Ortin




    I.I Theoretical approaches to crises

    1. What matters: Literature’s importance in times of crisis

    Jean Michel Ganteau

    2. The ethics and value of literature in times of crisis

    Susana Onega

    3. Whose crisis? Framing 9/11 and the “war on terror”

    Michael C. Frank

    4. Migration crisis in contemporary literature: A complicated journey through loss and hope.

    Merve Sarıkaya-Şen

    5. War, migration and human rights: Strategies of voicing in contemporary fiction

    Sue Vice

    6. Care crisis

    Lisa Baraitser and Laura Salisbury

    7.Climate crisis and literature: Towards propositive narratives.

    Gala Arias Rubio

    I.II Literary genres and crises

    8. Physical and spiritual crises in mediaeval and early English Renaissance drama.

    Paul Majkut

    9. Lines of exposure: Poetry and crisis

    Charles Ivan Armstrong

    10. Life-writing practices: A way out of crisis?

    Silvia Pellicer-Ortin

    11. Too burning for fiction? Women writers’ polemical essays in times of crisis.

    Julia Kuznetski

    12. The resilient frame: Graphic narratives and crises representation.

    Chiara Battisti

    13. Ecosystems of Change in the Baltics: Decoloniality and storytelling in art.

    Ieva Astahovska.  

    14.‘When it changed’: Crisis in science fiction and speculative literature.

    Raphael Kabo



    II.I Political and ideological crises in a historical perspective

    15. Aeneas Silvius Piccolomini: literature as the art of mediation

    Fabio Forner

    16. “Fair Sequence and Succession”: Shakespeare and the Elizabethan succession crisis

    Harvey Wiltshire

    17. The Devil in disguise: Writing the witch in Jacobean law and literature

    Ian Ward

    18. Annus mirabilis and the rhyming of history

    Paul Majkut

    19. This is (not) a crisis. The ideological construction of crises (Sweden)

    Leif Dahlberg

    20. The Crisis of polarisation: The example of Jonathan Coe

    Robert Eaglestone

    II.II War, migration and violence

    21. The inexhaustible human vectors: war, crisis, literature—from Beowulf to Ian McEwan

    Eva María Pérez Rodríguez

    22. Identity struggles and domestic turmoil in Ayşe Kulin’s Tutsak Güneş

    Emrah Atasoy

    23. The crisis of humanism, the Holocaust, and “The Jewish Dog” as a de/re-humanising figure in French literature.

    Helena Duffy

    24. Kenneth Branagh’s Belfast (2021): A tool of hermeneutical justice?

    Cecilia Beecher

    25. Poetry as an anthropological trailblazer in situation of crisis: Russophone poets’ answer Russia’s aggression against Ukraine and catastrophic transformation of the political regime (2022—2024)

    Ilya Kukulin

    26. The year war did not begin: Representations of war in Estonian literature

    Piret Viires

    II.III Values and identity crises

    27. One man’s dystopia is another woman’s utopia: Humanity revolutionised according to Stanisława Przybyszewska

    Ksenia Shmydkaya

    28. Experiences, learning and consequences of the pandemic: a critical eye at Spanish literature through the text of Marta Sanz

    Noelia Núñez Preza

    29. Ukrainian literary imaginaries of the past after 1991: From substitution to restoration?

    Alexander Dmitriev

    30. Liminal states of consciousness and crises of affect in contemporary Chinese literature

    Ivan Stacy

    31.Transitory identities and heterotopic spaces of crisis in the narratives of contemporary Brazilian women writers

    Izabel Brandão

    32. Crises down under: An approach to values and identity in contemporary Australian writing

    Bárbara Arizti

    33. Epic voices from Africa: Historical de-colonial re-writings

    Eugenia Ossana

    II.IV. Environmental crises and biopolitics

    34. “Art in crisis”: The novel in the age of digital media and global change

    Markku Lehtimäki

    35. Biopolitics and crisis in South Asian literary representations of midwifery and surrogacy

    Antonia Navarro Tejero

    36.Transecology repairs the capitalist metabolic rift? A reading of Chôsansei [Birth conscription] by Japanese novelist Tanaka Chôko

    Keitaro Morita

    II.V Technological crises and Posthumanism

    37. Technological crisis and posthumanity in Chinese philosophy and literature

    Amy Chan Kit-Sze

    38. Crisis, in extremis: Posthuman vulnerability in Jean-Baptiste Francois Xavier Cousin de Grainville’s The Last Man

    Ivan Callus

    39. “If you are a man Winston, you are the last man:” Social crisis and the wounded storyteller in the dystopian universe of George Orwell’s Nineteen eighty-four

    Sidia Fiorato

    40. Transhumanism and posthumanism: The enhancement or the end of the human?

    Daniela Carpi

    41. Literature at the crossroad in digital age:  A case study at IULM University

    Paola Carbone

    42. The Pause Letter, the existential AI crisis and digital ideology

    Anders Hedman




    Silvia Pellicer-Ortín is Associate Professor at the Department of English and German Philology in the Faculty of Education of the University of Zaragoza, Spain. She has co-edited several books including Trauma Narratives and Herstory (with Sonya Andermahr; Palgrave Macmillan, 2013) and Memory Frictions in Contemporary Literature (with María Jesús Martínez-Alfaro; Palgrave Macmillan, 2017).

    Julia Kuznetski is Professor of English at the School of Humanities of Tallinn University, Estonia. Her work includes Women on the Move: Body, Memory and Femininity in Present-Day Transnational Diasporic Writing (co-edited with Silvia Pellicer-Ortín; Routledge, 2019). 

    Chiara Battisti is Associate Professor of English Literature at the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures of the University of Verona, Italy. Her publications include Tailoring Identities in Victorian Literature (Frank and Timme, 2023), and Islands in Geography, Law, and Literature (co-edited with S. Fiorato, M. Nicolini, T. Perrin; De Gruyter, 2022).