This essay considers Jeanette Winterson’s speculative novel The Stone Gods for the literary, formal, and tonal strategies it employs to diagnose and illuminate the material burdens of producing and living in the Anthropocene. Using the geologic tool of stratigraphy in concert with the conceptual tools of geotrauma and melancholy to lever open the novel’s inter- and intratextual palimpsests, I examine the novel’s engagement with a crucial Anthropocene issue: developing tactics for conceptualizing the intermingling of different temporal and spatial scales. I argue that the novel, which uses motifs of storytelling, measuring, repetition, evolution, pollution, love, place, and planet in order to fathom humans as a biosphere-altering geologic agent, ultimately resolves into both a critique of cyclical patterns of anthropogenic socioecological destructiveness and an exemplary theorization of the Anthropocene.
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Introduction| November 01 2014
Nicole M. Merola; Materializing a Geotraumatic and Melancholy Anthropocene: Jeanette Winterson’s The Stone Gods. the minnesota review 1 November 2014; 2014 (83): 122–132. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00265667-2782315
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