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We-narrative and the challenges of nonhuman collectives

(2020) STYLE. 54(1). p.86-97
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  • NARMESH (Narrating the Mesh: Ecology and the Non-Human in Contemporary Fiction and Oral Storytelling (NARMESH))
Abstract
Narrative theory is devoting increasing attention to we-narrative and, more generally, stories that center on groups. However, the we in question tends to be a human one. In this article, I argue that narrative can also foreground nonhuman assemblages (animals, plants, material objects, etc.) and can employ this focus to question anthropocentric assumptions. I discuss two examples: Tinkers (2009), by Paul Harding, in which a more-than-human we emerges and brings together the human protagonists and cosmic realities; and The Overstory (2018), by Richard Powers, whose plot organization builds on an analogy between a group of environmental activists and a symbiotic collective of plants and fungi. Through we-narrative (Harding) and formal engagement with collectivity (Powers), these contemporary works demonstrate how narrative (and narrative theory) can speak to current debates on the ecological crisis: imagining more-than-human assemblages through narrative form calls for a profound rethinking of collective behavior on a planetary scale.
Keywords
Literature and Literary Theory, nonhuman, narrative form, collective, Tinkers, The Overstory, anthropocentrism, CLIMATE, FORM

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Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Caracciolo, Marco. “We-Narrative and the Challenges of Nonhuman Collectives.” STYLE, vol. 54, no. 1, 2020, pp. 86–97, doi:10.5325/style.54.1.0086.
APA
Caracciolo, M. (2020). We-narrative and the challenges of nonhuman collectives. STYLE, 54(1), 86–97. https://doi.org/10.5325/style.54.1.0086
Chicago author-date
Caracciolo, Marco. 2020. “We-Narrative and the Challenges of Nonhuman Collectives.” STYLE 54 (1): 86–97. https://doi.org/10.5325/style.54.1.0086.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Caracciolo, Marco. 2020. “We-Narrative and the Challenges of Nonhuman Collectives.” STYLE 54 (1): 86–97. doi:10.5325/style.54.1.0086.
Vancouver
1.
Caracciolo M. We-narrative and the challenges of nonhuman collectives. STYLE. 2020;54(1):86–97.
IEEE
[1]
M. Caracciolo, “We-narrative and the challenges of nonhuman collectives,” STYLE, vol. 54, no. 1, pp. 86–97, 2020.
@article{8664118,
  abstract     = {{Narrative theory is devoting increasing attention to we-narrative and, more generally, stories that center on groups. However, the we in question tends to be a human one. In this article, I argue that narrative can also foreground nonhuman assemblages (animals, plants, material objects, etc.) and can employ this focus to question anthropocentric assumptions. I discuss two examples: Tinkers (2009), by Paul Harding, in which a more-than-human we emerges and brings together the human protagonists and cosmic realities; and The Overstory (2018), by Richard Powers, whose plot organization builds on an analogy between a group of environmental activists and a symbiotic collective of plants and fungi. Through we-narrative (Harding) and formal engagement with collectivity (Powers), these contemporary works demonstrate how narrative (and narrative theory) can speak to current debates on the ecological crisis: imagining more-than-human assemblages through narrative form calls for a profound rethinking of collective behavior on a planetary scale.}},
  author       = {{Caracciolo, Marco}},
  issn         = {{0039-4238}},
  journal      = {{STYLE}},
  keywords     = {{Literature and Literary Theory,nonhuman,narrative form,collective,Tinkers,The Overstory,anthropocentrism,CLIMATE,FORM}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{1}},
  pages        = {{86--97}},
  title        = {{We-narrative and the challenges of nonhuman collectives}},
  url          = {{http://dx.doi.org/10.5325/style.54.1.0086}},
  volume       = {{54}},
  year         = {{2020}},
}

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