Solastalgia in J. G. Ballard’s The Drowned World: Living in a Watery Earth No Longer Home
James Graham Ballard (1930-2009) is known for his fictions of environmentally devastated landscapes caused by technological excess and non-ecological attitudes of humankind. In many of his fictional works, which are set in an ecologically disturbed world caused by such environmental elements or disasters as the wind, drought and crystallisation, Ballard handles the theme of (ir)reversibly negative physical transformations of the nonhuman environment and their physical and psychological effects on humans. In his post-/apocalyptic novel The Drowned World (1962), Ballard portrays a heavily-flooded world in which rising temperatures have caused sea level rise, leading Earth into a submerged globe. Instead of dealing with the post-/apocalyptic concerns of how humans are destroyed or find a way to escape the catastrophe, Ballard is more interested in the effects of the apocalypse on human body, psyche and emotions as humans develop new relationships in negatively transformed environment. To reveal these effects in the novel, this article focuses on exploring the novel in terms of the concept of ‘solastalgia’, coined by the environmental philosopher Glenn Albrecht. Solastalgia, deriving from the words ‘solace’ and ‘nostalgia’, means a kind of homesickness somebody feels at home because of environmental and climate changes. To this end, solastalgia will be manifested through ecocritical reading of Ballard’s tropical and submerged London.
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