Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics: A Humanist Reading of Recent French Ecofiction (Hardcover)

Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics: A Humanist Reading of Recent French Ecofiction By Jonathan F. Krell Cover Image
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In France, the fundamental intellectual debate over ecology might best be summarized by the contrasting views of Michel Serres and Luc Ferry. In The Natural Contract, Serres calls for an end to humans' war on nature: Our world view must turn from anthropocentric to ecocentric, and our relationship to the earth must become symbiotic instead of parasitic. Luc Ferry's response to Serres in The New Ecological Order ridicules the metaphor of a natural contract, by which humans (and humanism) would no longer reign over the earth. Ferry accuses Serres and other ecological thinkers of being "premodern" and "prehumanistic"; valuing nonhuman life as much as human life evokes the ridiculous trials of five centuries ago when beetles and rats were threatened with excommunication if they did not cease their antihuman activities.

After analyzing the Serres-Ferry debate, Ecocritics and Ecoskeptics examines environmental themes in novels by Michel Tournier, St phane Audeguy, and Chantal Chawaf. It then considers the complex and evolving relationship between humans and animals as expressed in novels by Vercors and Olivia Rosenthal, and in philosophical works by Jacques Derrida, lisabeth de Fontenay, and Peter Singer, among others. Two novels each by the humanist J.-C. Rufin and the humorist Iegor Gran provide a dose of healthy skepticism. Rufin's stories reveal the potential dark side of extreme environmentalism - authoritarianism and terrorism - while Gran's hilarious satires critique some environmentalists' piousness, opportunism, humorlessness, and antihumanism. The book concludes that environmentalism and humanism are not incompatible, if we proceed beyond the traditional humanism of Ferry and other modernists. Essays by philosophers such as Claude L vi-Strauss, Pierre Rabhi, Edgar Morin, and Michel Maffesoli
demonstrate that an inclusive, ecological humanism is not only possible but necessary for our survival.

About the Author

Jonathan F. Krell is a Professor of French at the University of Georgia.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781789622058
ISBN-10: 1789622050
Publisher: Liverpool University Press
Publication Date: October 31st, 2020
Pages: 240
Language: English