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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. FictionEnvironment and Affect$
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Heather Houser

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231165143

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231165143.001.0001

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(p.1) 1. Ecosickness
Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction

Heather Houser

Columbia University Press

This chapter discusses the emergence of a literary mode known as “ecosickness fiction” that joins experiences of ecological and somatic damage through narrative affect. The importance of ecosickness fiction rests on three main contributions to contemporary culture and criticism. First, this literature apprehends somatic and ecological vitality as shared concerns that cannot be isolated from each other, and it simultaneously nuances ecological models of connectedness. Second, it demonstrates the interdependence of narrative strategies and affect, and experiments with the ethicopolitical effects of emotional idioms. Finally, this literature expounds how conceptions of agency, ethics, and action mutate under conditions of environmental endangerment and technologization. This literature apprehends the superimposition of vulnerable bodies in wide-ranging environmental processes through the consequence for recent cultural production, and the environmental imagination.

Keywords:   ecosickness fiction, narrative affect, ecological damage, somatic damage, ethicopolitical effects, environmental endangerment, environmental imagination

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