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Durham University

Department of English Studies

Event Archive

This is an archive of past events within the Department of English Studies. Please see our current events for forthcoming activities.

Some of our public events are recorded and are available as podcasts via our Research English At Durham blog.

Scale and the Quandaries of an ‘Environmental’ Literary Criticism

10th November 2016, 17:30 to 18:30, Birley Room, Hatfield College, Professor Tim Clark

An IAS Fellows lecture, free and open to all.

The twenty-first century has seen an increased awareness of forms of environmental destruction that cannot immediately be seen, localized or, by some, even acknowledged -- planetary-scale phenomena such as climate change, ocean acidification, global overpopulation and other incremental forms of ecological degradation.

How far are inherited modes of both literature and criticism working with assumptions of scale that are now anachronistic. Can the emerging need to think of day to day human life on spatial and temporal scales that are unfamiliar be accommodated by modes of thought and ethics calibrated to normal human scales, or is the fragility of most attempts to think of literature and criticism in relation to the so-called Anthropocene the symptom of a dangerous crisis of values?? The question is focused by a comparison of issues of character and coherence in several narratives concerning climate change in some way, including Kim Stanley Robinson’s “Science in the Capital” trilogy and Will Self’s short story, “Scale”.

Contact enquiries.ias@durham.ac.uk for more information about this event.

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