Afterword: Econarratology Then, Now, and Later


Econarratology is a project born of frustration and disconnect. As a graduate student, I struggled to pair the ecocritical theory that I was reading with the postcolonial texts that I was meant to be analyzing. I valued the work of scholars such as Jonathan Bate, Lawrence Buell, Cheryll Glotfelty, and Scott Slovic for its clear-eyed insistence that the environment matters and that literary critics, as astute analyzers of the way that culture can shape our world, are well placed to study how representations of the physical world in literature can shape what Buell succinctly calls the environmental imagination. Yet, the primary texts that I was studying—narratives written by Caribbean and Black British writers—did not mesh well with this scholarship. Novels such as Sam Selvon’s A Brighter Sun and the short stories in V. S. Naipaul’s Miguel Street represent far different relationships between characters and their material environments than we find in the American and British texts that initially interested first-wave ecocritics such as Bate, Buell, Glotfelty, and Slovic.

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