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The Subject Reconsidered: Death-Facing and its Challenges in Contemporary Environmental Crisis Fiction.

Squire, Louise. (2014) The Subject Reconsidered: Death-Facing and its Challenges in Contemporary Environmental Crisis Fiction. Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey (United Kingdom)..

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Abstract

Death-denial in the modem West has been identified as a concern by thinkers who have grappled with issues across the last century and into the present. Most recent of these are the emergent harms to the planet and its ecosphere that accumulate as ‘environmental crisis’. This dissertation examines a strand of contemporary environmental crisis fiction that explicitly responds to a Western death-denial and its effects, especially— although not limited to—those effects upon the nonhuman world. As the ‘environment’ is extracted from its state of utility to manifest as a viable category in human thought—and indeed to manifest in its own right beyond it—it takes over as the definitive casualty of western death-denial. The response in this fiction appears as a direct counter to death-denial, envisaged in the possibility of a shift from death-denial to death -facing. As such, this fiction replicates a turn in theory from its focus on the language problem to a new emphasis on the material and the real. At the same time, this fiction’s moment of emergence is one in which ‘real’ socio-political response to environmental crisis is severely limited, meaning that in depicting death-facing, this fiction correspondingly depicts too its tensions and challenges. This contemporary phenomenon of death-facing and its problematising is explored as it appears in Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam trilogy, Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods, and Amitav Ghosh’s The Hungry Tide. Links are drawn between their depictions of death-facing as ecological imperative, and developments in theory that move from a concern with language to the new speculative materialisms and realisms that reach for the outside of thought. Death-facing emerges as a turn toward the material that nonetheless sustains a discursive mode.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Squire, Louise.
Date : 2014
Additional Information : Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Surrey (United Kingdom), 2014.
Depositing User : EPrints Services
Date Deposited : 14 May 2020 14:17
Last Modified : 14 May 2020 14:23
URI: http://epubs.surrey.ac.uk/id/eprint/856571

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