Environmental Risk Fiction and Ecocriticism
Ecocriticism has been at the forefront of introducing risk theory and risk research to literary and cultural studies. The essay surveys this more recent trend in ecocritical scholarship, which began with the new millennium and has focused on the participation of fictional texts in various environmental risk discourses. The study of risk fiction draws our attention to cultural moments of uncertainty, threat, and instability, to risk scenarios both local and planetary—not least the risk scenarios of the Anthropocene in which species consciousness and ‘planetariness’ have become central issues. The essay reviews how key publications have shed light on the cultural and literary historical relevance of environmental risk and on various issues that are central to ecocriticism. It points out how they have sharpened our sense of both the spatial and temporal dimensions of environmental risk and environmental crisis, introduced new categories of ecocritical analysis, contributed to clarifying some of the field’s major conceptual premises, and added a new approach to genre discussions, in particular relating to fiction engaging with global anthropogenic climate change.
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