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Environment and Fiction

Critical Readings

Edited By Özden Sözalan and Inci Bilgin Tekin

The essays in this volume engage with questions concerning the relationships between fictional texts and environmental issues in their various articulations, and offer critical readings that display the theoretical diversity in the current reconsiderations of the place of human in relation to nature and the environment. Written by scholars working in separate yet closely related disciplines in the field of humanities, the essays present analyses of literary and cultural texts, performed with the critical tools provided by studies in ecology, ecofeminism, urban studies, posthumanism and animal studies as well as genre-specific approaches.

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Intersections, Interventions, and Utopian Pessimism in Son Ada (The Last Island) (Burcu Kayışcı Akkoyun)

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Burcu Kayışcı Akkoyun

To begin with a fitting metaphor for this essay, the first seeds were planted in the early summer of 2019 during a time when the Turkish State Meteorological Service was issuing flood warnings due to heavy rainfall, and the third anniversary of the July 15 coup attempt in Turkey was just around the corner. These seemingly unrelated events took on a new meaning in light of the novel I was working on at the time: Son Ada (The Last Island) by Zülfü Livaneli (2008), which portrays the short-sighted policies of a retired general/newly turned President, and the ensuing catastrophic transformation of a fictional island from a eutopia1 into a dystopia. The novel is available only in Turkish at present, and yet, this essay is an attempt to demonstrate that Livaneli not only problematizes but also aims to transcend a sense of closure within national borders through his intersectional critique of authoritarian and anthropocentric perceptions that simultaneously threaten the lives of human and non-human residents of the earth. The trajectory of this double operation, I argue, could be explored both in the intertextual space in which the author gestures towards different literary genres, and the conventions of Western utopian/dystopian fiction, and in the temporality of the narrative that oscillates between the past, the present, and the future, endorsing an environmental ethos. My reading takes its cue from the oft-quoted first rule of ecology formulated by the American biologist and ecologist Barry Commoner: “Everything is...

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