New Ecological Realisms

Post-Apocalyptic Fiction and Contemporary Theory

Monika Kaup

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Presents post-apocalyptic fiction as a unique source of new realist ontologies
  • Shows how new realism reshapes humanistic inquiry in the age of climate change
  • Contributes to the rehabilitation and reframing of realism after postmodernism
  • Introduces a new contextual and ecological realism that reconnects the human cultural world with non-humans and the environment

What is the singular reality of humanistic objects of study? By pairing post-apocalyptic novels by Margaret Atwood, José Saramago, Octavia Butler and Cormac McCarthy with new realist theories, Monika Kaup shows that, just as new realist theory can illuminate post-apocalyptic literature, post-apocalyptic literature also embeds new theories of the real.

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List of Illustrations
1. New Ecological Realisms and Post-Apocalyptic Fiction
2. The New Realism of the Factish and the Political Ecology of Humans and Non-Humans: Bruno Latour and Margaret Atwood’s Maddaddam Trilogy
3. The Ontology of Knowledge as the Enaction of Mind and World: Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela’s Autopoietic Theory and José Saramago’s Blindness
4. Apocalypse as Field of Sense: Markus Gabriel’s Ontology of Fields of Sense and Octavia Butler’s Parable Series
5. New Phenomenologies after Poststructuralism (Jean-Luc Marion and Alphonso Lingis) and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road
Works Cited.

[...] Kaup’s book is an original and instructive work, so much so as to be useful as an introduction to the intersections between various new realist theories, as well as a skilful demonstration of their applications for literary analysis.

Antonia Spencer, The comparatist

I was thrilled by Kaup’s stunning capacity clearly to express complexity as many times as I was baffled by the particular commitments of this tightly knit way of thinking the world, literature, and communication: both say much about me and I hope they also help to steer Kaup’s best readers to this book. It may be just the kind of criticism they need at present.

Brent Ryan Bellamy, Science Fiction Studies

Monika Kaup’s encyclopedic new study promises to be invaluable inasmuch as it organizes and reframes an impressive amount of scholarship from the past three decades of ecological thinking.

Clint Wilson III, MLQ

[...] a remarkable scholarly work that combines a firm grasp of theory with literary analysis.

Kamil Rusiłowicz, The John Paul II Catholic University of Lublin, Roczniki Humanistyczne Vol. 71, No. 11
[...] Kaup’s book is a vivid prospect of what the genre may still achieve in the way of bringing to life forms of mind that are, as yet, only keenly felt anticipations of a shared mind to come.
Mark Payne, American Literary History

By introducing readers to a variety of provocative approaches to "new realism," and by showing how post-apocalyptic fictions not only enact but also deepen and broaden those theories, Monika Kaup provides an invaluable map of our precarious present that simultaneously offers hope for our collective future.

Evan Gottlieb, Oregon State University

Presenting a context-dependent realism, Monika Kaup brings together theory and fiction to get real about ecology and the future. Philosophical inquiries and post-apocalyptic writings collide in engaging prose and exciting ideas that open up new horizons for thinking, feeling, and acting after the end of the world.

Sam Mickey, University of San Francisco
Monika Kaup is Professor of English at the University of Washington. She is the author of Neobaroque in the Americas: Alternative Modernities in Literature, Visual Art, and Film (University of Virginia Press 2012) and she is co-editor of Baroque New Worlds: Representation, Transculturation, Counterconquest (Duke University Press 2010).

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