- “Ecocatastrophic Nightmares: Romantic Sublime Legacies in Contemporary American Experimental Fiction”
- Arizona Quarterly: A Journal of American Literature, Culture, and Theory
- Johns Hopkins University Press
- Volume 72, Number 2, Summer 2016
- pp. 29-60
- View Citation
- Additional Information
Mark Z. Danielewski’s Only Revolutions (2006) and Kathryn Davis’s The Walking Tour (1999) offer accounts of terror and vulnerability in the face of environmental upheavals. While these novels focus on present-day technological developments, climate change, and ecological degradation, they rely on constructs of sublimity made most familiar in Romantic and Gothic conventions of the long nineteenth century. Moreover, these authors’ use of formal experimentation to figure “unpresentable” crises situates their works in a tradition of ecocatastrophic narratives such as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. Debating terms of naturalness and monstrosity, ecocatastrophic narratives associate the dangers represented by technological hubris with environmental risks. They narrate incommensurable events of ecosystemic changes, the dangers of technological overreach, and the negative affects these interrelated crises elicit.