Material Ecocriticism

Material Ecocriticism

Edited by Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 09/24/2014
Format: Paperback 19 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-01398-9
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Material Ecocriticism offers new ways to analyze language and reality, human and nonhuman life, mind and matter, without falling into well-worn paths of thinking. Bringing ecocriticism closer to the material turn, the contributions to this landmark volume focus on material forces and substances, the agency of things, processes, narratives and stories, and making meaning out of the world. This broad-ranging reflection on contemporary human experience and expression provokes new understandings of the planet to which we are intimately connected.

Author Bio

Serenella Iovino is Professor of Comparative Literature at the University of Turin, Italy.

Serpil Oppermann is Professor of English at Hacettepe University, Ankara, Turkey.


“References and engages with the major works and writers on the new materialism with its focus on material entanglements and material agency. . . . The quality of the essays ensures that this will be a useful volume for both undergraduate and graduate courses.”
 — Anne Elvey, Monash University

“This book is not an extension of spirituality to the boring domain of materiality, and it is not the opposite either, the humbling appeal to material infrastructure in order to dampen the dreams of scholars, priests, ecologists, and militants for a more uplifting world of meanings and beauties. It is the exploration of how many dimensions—many indeed spiritual—have been lost in not taking materiality seriously enough. A move that meets scientists half way to help them profit from their science so as to explore in common what geophysicitsis now call 'critical zones.' Critical zones indeed!”
 — Bruno Latour, Université Sciences Po Paris

“An extremely valuable resource for anyone seeking an advanced introduction to the conversations and controversies animating the new ‘material’ turn in ecocriticism.”
 — Lawrence Buell, Harvard University

“The contributions to this collection are consistently well-written, balancing technical language, poetic vividness, and accessibility. Of interest to literary scholars and readers throughout the environmental humanities and theoretical sciences.”
 — Scott Slovic, Idaho State University

“With its wide array of topics and theoretical influences, Material Ecocriticism is a helpful starting point for those wondering how new materialist thinking can inform ecocriticism; it would also serve as a pertinent addition to graduate seminars. ”
 — Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and the Environment

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Table of Contents

Foreword: Storied Matter
Jeffrey Jerome Cohen
Introduction: Stories Come to Matter
Serenella Iovino and Serpil Oppermann

Part I. Material Ecocriticism: Theories and Relations
1. From Ecological Postmodernism to Material Ecocriticism: Creative Materiality and Narrative Agency Serpil Oppermann

2. On the Limits of Agency: Notes on the Material Turn from a Systems-Theoretical Perspective
Hannes Bergthaller

3. Creative Matter and Creative Mind: Cultural Ecology and Literary Creativity
Hubert Zapf

4. Natural Play, Natural Metaphor and Natural Stories: Biosemiotic Realism
Wendy Wheeler

5. The Ecology of Color: Goethe’s Materialist Optics and Ecological Posthumanism Heather Sullivan

Part II. Narratives of Matter
6. Bodies of Naples: Stories, Matter, and the Landscapes of Porosity
Serenella Iovino
7. When It Rains
Lowell Duckert

8. Painful Material Realities, Avoidance, Ecophobia
Simon C. Estok
9. Semiotization of Matter: A Hybrid Zone between Biosemiotics and Material Ecocriticism
Timo Maran

Part III. Politics of Matter
10. Pro/Polis: Three Forays into the Political Lives of Bees
Catriona Sandilands

11. Excremental Ecocriticism and the Global Sanitation Crisis Dana Phillips

12. Oceanic Origins, Plastic Activism, and New Materialism at Sea
Stacy Alaimo
13. Meditations on Natural Worlds, Disabled Bodies, and a Politics of Cure
Eli Clare

Part IV. Poetics of Matter
14. Corporeal Fieldwork and Risky Art: Peter Goin and the Making of Nuclear Landscapes
Cheryll Glotfelty

15. Of Material Sympathies, Paracelsus, and Whitman
Jane Bennett

16. Source of Life: Avatar, Amazonia, and an Ecology of Selves
Joni Adamson

17. The Liminal Space between Things: Epiphany and the Physical
Timothy Morton

Coda: Open Closure
A Diptych on

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