Since its coining by the chemists Eugene Stoermer and Paul Crutzen in 2002, the term Anthropocene, or “human age,” has elicited debate among geologists and humanists alike on the appropriate date of the age’s inception. Jason Groves makes a strong case that at least one cultural feature of the Anthropocene—the sense of the entanglement of humanity with the earth—had a major impact on German literature in the nineteenth century, from Romanticism to modernism. Groves’s preference for the environmentalist Bill McKibbon’s term Eaarth—one of many ecocritical riffs on différance—over the arguably anthropocentric Anthropocene demonstrates from the start his commitment to the finer distinctions of the language employed in theoretical discussions and poetic descriptions of the earth, whether they emerge from etymology, orthography, translation, or other forms of wordplay such as metaphor, pun, or anagram. Language is also the key to Groves’s conception of the “geological unconscious,” which he...
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Book Review| September 01 2021
The Geological Unconscious: German Literature and the Mineral Imaginary
The Geological Unconscious: German Literature and the Mineral Imaginary. By Groves, Jason.
Fordham University Press,
2020. vii + 174 pp.
Timothy Attanucci is assistant professor of German literature at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz. He is author of The Restorative Poetics of a Geological Age (2020) and coeditor of a collection of essays on Hans Blumenberg, Leistungsbeschreibung / Describing Cultural Achievements (2020).
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Modern Language Quarterly (2021) 82 (3): 383–386.
Timothy Attanucci; The Geological Unconscious: German Literature and the Mineral Imaginary. Modern Language Quarterly 1 September 2021; 82 (3): 383–386. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00267929-9090361
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