Jan 13: Axel Goodbody seminar
Wednesday 13 January, 4-6pm - Axel Goodbody (University of Bath):
Telling the Story of Climate Change: Narrative Strategy and the Challenge of the Anthropocene
Can stories be used to bring home to readers the reality of something as abstract as climate change, and to help us reflect on its political, social and not least its ethical implications? This talk will explore the significance for literary criticism of the concept of the Anthropocene, and discuss examples of American, British and German climate fiction, focusing on the narrative strategies with which Barbara Kingsolver, Ian McEwan, Ilija Trojanow and others have sought to map the global scale and deep time of climate change onto the localised experience and limited timespan of human life. Adam Trexler, Timothy Clark, Patrick Murphy and Kate Rigby have all published books on ‘cli-fi’ in 2015, charting its emergence as a 21st-century genre and asking whether not only traditional narrative strategies, but also modes of interpretation that once seemed sufficient or progressive have become, in this new counterintuitive context, inadequate or even latently destructive. The role of genres, master plots and symbols will be critically assessed and illustrated through comparison of two recent German novels which share a polar setting, Trojanow's “requiem for the future”, ‘EisTau’ (Melting Ice) and Susanne Franz’s young adult novel ‘Ins Nordlicht blicken’ (Looking into the Northern Lights).
H2.02, Humanities Building