Dark Humorous Mode in Anthropocene Fictions: A Contemporary Carnival of Victorian Grotesques in Liz Jensen’s Arc Baby

Authors

  • Fatma Aykanat Dr.

Abstract

Among various other human-induced ecological threats featured in the Anthropocene, species extinction occupies a particularly critical place. Already exhausted with dark, depressive and pessimistic environmental projections, the literary reflections of the Anthropocene are usually as depressing as the scientific denotations of the concept. In Ark Baby (1998), the British novelist Liz Jensen mixes two distinct literary genres: seriousness of dystopia and humorousness of comedy in an attempt to satirize the anthropocentric mentality and human hubris. Jensen deploys the nineteenth century theories of evolution in the Anthropocene context, and engages with the co-evolution of humans and nonhuman animals. Jensen’s dark humorous tone in Ark Baby is set by the grotesque portrayals of ecologically challenged humans and nonhumans.Swinging between the parallel timespans of the nineteenth century Victorian (1845) and the twenty-first century Britain (2005), Arc Baby rewrites the biblical and scientific stories of creation from the perspective of a newly assumed “humanimal” hybrid identity. Within this framework, this paper explores the human-animal entanglements in the Anthropocene facing the species extinction and discuss the effectiveness of humour to express the serious Anthropocenic concerns.

Keywords: Liz Jensen, Ark Baby, the Anthropocene, dystopia, Cli-Fi, satire, species extinction, human-animal entanglements, grotesque

References

Crutzen, P. J. & Stoermer E. F. (2000). “The Anthropocene.” IGBP Newsletter, 41, 17.

Darwin, C. (2009). On the origins of species. (Ed.) Gillian Beer. New York: Oxford University Press.

Depew, D. J. (2009). “The rhetoric of the origin of the species.” In M. Ruse and R. J. Richards (Eds.), Cambridge companion to origin of species (p. 237-255). New York: Cambridge University Press.

Derrida, J. (Winter 2002). “The animal that therefore I am (more to follow).” (Trans.) D. Willis. Critical Inquiry, 28(2), 369-41.

Haraway, D. J. (2008). When species meet. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

--- . (2017). “Symbiogenesis, Symbiopoiesis, and Art Science Activism for Staying with the Trouble.” In A. Tsing, H. Swanson, E. Gan & N. Bubandt. (Eds.), Arts of living on a damaged planet. (p. 25-50). Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

Jensen, L. (1998). Ark baby. London: Bloomsbury.

Kolbert, E. (2014). The sixth extinction: An unnatural history. New York: Henry Holt & Co.

Meeker, J. W. (1996). “The comic mode.” In C. Glotfelty and H. Fromm (Eds.), The ecocriticism reader: Landmarks in literary ecology (p. 155-169). Athens, Georgia: The University of Georgia Press.

Morton, T. (2010). “Thinking ecology: The mesh, the strange stranger, and the beautiful soul.” Collapse, (VI), 265-293.

Mundler, Helen E. (2010). “Thinking about origins and rewriting history.” Résonances, 11, 59-75.

Shapiro, J. A. (2011). Evolution: A view from the 21st century. New Jersey: FT Press Science.

Yaeger. P. (2008). “Editors column: The death of nature and the apotheosis of trash; or rubbish ecology.” PMLA, 123 (2), 321-338.

Zizek, S. (2007). “Censorship today: Violence, or ecology as a new opium for the masses.” Retrieved from https://www.lacan.com/zizecology2.htm

Downloads

Published

2021-01-23

How to Cite

Aykanat, F. (2021). Dark Humorous Mode in Anthropocene Fictions: A Contemporary Carnival of Victorian Grotesques in Liz Jensen’s Arc Baby: Array. Journal of Narrative and Language Studies, 8(15), 278–290. Retrieved from https://nalans.com/index.php/nalans/article/view/280