Aging Studies and Ecocriticism: Interdisciplinary Encounters argues that both aging studies and ecocriticism address the complex dynamics of individual and collective agency, oppression and dependency, care and conviviality, vulnerability and resistance as well as intergenerationality and responsibility. Yet, even though both fields employ overlapping methodologies and theoretical frameworks and scrutinize “boundary texts” in different literary genres, which have been analyzed from ecocritical perspectives as well as from the vantage point of critical aging studies, there has been little scholarly interaction between ecocritical literary studies and aging studies to date. The contributors in this volume demonstrate the potential of specific genres to narrate relationality and age, and the aesthetic and ethical challenges of imagining changes, endings, and survival in the Anthropocene. As the first step towards putting both fields in conversation, this collection offers new pathways into understanding human and nonhuman ecological relations.
Nassim Winnie Balestrini is professor of American studies and intermediality at the University of Graz, Austria.
Julia Hoydis is professor of English literature at the University of Klagenfurt, Austria.
Anna-Christina Kainradl is pre-doctoral researcher at the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC) at the University of Graz, Austria.
Ulla Kriebernegg is professor in cultural aging and care studies and director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on Aging and Care (CIRAC) at the University of Graz, Austria.
Nassim W. Balestrini, Julia Hoydis, Anna-Christina Kainradl, and Ulla Kriebernegg: Time, Relationality, and Fears of Ending: Encounters between Aging Studies and Ecocriticism
Part I “Aging Bodies and Environments”
1 Silvia Gerlsbeck: “A World in Flux”: Temporality, Aging, and Environmental Change in V.S. Naipaul’s Late Work
2 Christian Lenz: Footprints in the Jungle: Creating a Legacy in the Rainforest
3 Jade E. French: “Zoological Outcasts” and the Aging Other in Jean Rhys’s Late Short Stories
4 Núria Mina-Riera: Embodying Age(ing) in the Non-Human World in Lorna Crozier’s Poetry
5 Simon Dickel: Beyond Reproductive Futurism: Harold and Maude’s Ecological Aesthetics
6 Tina-Karen Pusse and Michaela Schrage-Früh: Time Travel, Age/ing and Ecology in the German Netflix Series
Part II “Growing Old Amid Environmental Crises”
7 Adrian Tait: Imagining Longevity and Sustainability in Walter Besant’s The Inner House and William Morris’ News from Nowhere
8 Stephen Hahn: Literature and the “Cultural Scripting” of Aging and Dying
9 Julia Hoydis: Caring (for) Futures: Intergenerational Justice in Contemporary Drama
10 Julia Henderson and Katrina Dunn: Old(er) Women and the Apocalypse: Three Dramatic Representations
11 Albert Banerjee: Learning to Live Well within Limits: Exploring the Existential Lessons of Climate Change and an Aging Population
Part III Afterword
12 Peter J. Whitehouse: Emergent Cosmic Return: The Field of Possibilities for Aging in a Proposed New Geological Epoch
About the Authors
This book is a smart and insightful collection of chapters exploring “growing old at the end of the world.” I was immediately taken in by the similarities between aging studies and ecocritical approaches to understanding and deconstructing temporalities and the passing of time and couldn’t help but wonder: Why has it taken so long to have a book such as this? It will become required reading for my future classes.
This remarkable book tackles the relationship between two interdisciplinary fields: Aging Studies and Ecocriticism. The issues presented in this volume are thought-provoking. The depth of dialogue challenges the reader to think in more complex terms about the encounters between the two fields. The text is full of fresh ideas which will surely serve as a major resource for the needed scholarly interaction between environmental and aging studies in the humanities.