Climate Fiction and the Ethics of Existentialism

An Econarratological Analysis of Lyra Koli's Allting Växer


  • Jens Kramshøj Flinker University of Copenhagen



Allting Växer, climate fiction, econarratology, existentialism, ecocriticism


        The purpose of this article is twofold: Existentialism as a philosophical discipline and ethical reference point seems to be a rare guest in ecocriticism. Based on an analysis of Lyra Koli's climate fiction Allting Växer (2018) this article argues that existentialism has something to offer to the ecocritical field. I make use of an econarratological approach, drawing on James Phelan's narrative ethics. Thus, I emphasize the article's second purpose, as narrative ethics is about reconstructing narratives own ethical standards rather than the reader bringing a prefabricated ethical system to the narrative. This reading practice can help to question the idea that some ethical and philosophical standards are better than others within ecocriticism—by encouraging scholars in ecocriticism to relate to what existentialism has to do with climate change in this specific case. In continuation of my analysis, I argue that Allting Växer is pointing at a positive side of existentialist concepts such as anxiety or anguish, that is, that there is a reflecting and changing potential in these moods or experiences. This existentialist framework contrasts with the interpretation of "Anthropocene disorder" (Timothy Clark) as the only outcome when confronting the complexity of the Anthropocene.


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Author Biography

Jens Kramshøj Flinker, University of Copenhagen

Jens Kramshøj Flinker is a PhD Fellow at the Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics at the University of Copenhagen. He has published a book and several articles on contemporary Nordic literature based on methodological frameworks such as critique of ideology, postcolonialism, narratology, and ecocriticism. His current research concerns how Nordic contemporary novels respond aesthetically to the Anthropocene and how this response affects the reader cognitively and ethically. He is a member of the research network ‘The Ecocritical Network for Scandinavian Studies’ (ENSCAN).