This essay argues for the importance of D. H. Lawrence’s Lady Chatterley’s Lover (1928) as a core text in the emergent corpus of what Andreas Malm calls “fossil fuel fiction,” elaborating how coal, the processes by which it is extracted, and the labor relations accompanying those processes form the enabling infrastructure of the novel’s central affair. In depicting the mechanisms of disavowal, denial, and projection by which the lovers persist in the delusion of their separateness from the industrial system that preconditions their encounters, Chatterley proleptically highlights the inadequacy of our modes of responding to planetary crisis while also broaching urgent questions about the nature of subjectivity in a fossil economy in which, given that fossil fuels concretely subtend humanity’s ability to live and reproduce, we are all in a sense emanations of the very substances whose burning undermines our long-term prospects for survival.


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pp. 288-304
Launched on MUSE
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