The ecocritic and philosopher Timothy Morton has recently proposed an aesthetics of “dark ecology” as the appropriate artistic response to difficult environments. Our interactions with such environments encourage us to recognize that we are neither superior to nor entirely separate from the objects and living beings that surround us. Accordingly, dark ecological art explores interpenetrations of human bodies and human psychologies with elements of our environments, including the products of human hands. But it sees no cause for celebration in such insights: rather, it delivers them in a consistently ‘dark,’ pessimistic tone. In this essay I argue that Morton’s ideas can enrich our understanding of the Hesiodic Works and Days, which places emphasis on the difficulty of interacting with the environments of the Greek world. And while some passages seem to accord a privileged status to humans, many others stress the interpenetration of the human and the nonhuman, doing so in the sort of pessimistic tone that Morton associates with his dark ecological aesthetic.


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