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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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Grizzly Man: From the Ethics of Film to the Ethics of the Animal-Other (Zeynep Talay Turner)

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Zeynep Talay Turner

If we could talk to the animals, learn their languages

Think of all the things we could discuss

If we could walk with the animals, talk with the animals,

Grunt and squeak and squawk with the animals,

And they could squeak and squawk and speak and talk to us.

Doctor Dolittle, Talk to the Animals

Grizzly Man (2005) is a documentary film by German director Werner Herzog which tells us how the amateur environmentalist-activist Timothy Treadwell spent a considerable amount of time–13 summers–with grizzly bears in Alaska before, in 2003, he and his girlfriend were eaten by one. The film mostly consists of footage from films that Treadwell himself shot, showing his interactions with grizzlies and how he, alone, almost as a warrior, fought to protect them. This footage is accompanied by interviews with friends, parents, officials, and a pilot who would take Treadwell to the “expedition” site. The documentary is of interest not only for the representation of the devoted idealist Treadwell, but also for the questions raised about the human and its relation to the animal-other.

In his short essay “Identity” the German philosopher Hans Blumenberg tells us that in the 1930s the English archaeologist Max Mallowan, the husband of Agatha Christie, was on an excavation in Mesopotamia. In his team there was an Irishman called Gallagher who had a supply of fantastic tales. Mallowan told his...

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