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AnimalitiesLiterary and Cultural Studies Beyond the Human$
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Michael Lundblad

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9781474400022

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474400022.001.0001

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J. G. Ballard’s Dark Ecologies: Unsettling Nature, Animals, and Literary Tropes

J. G. Ballard’s Dark Ecologies: Unsettling Nature, Animals, and Literary Tropes

(p.60) Chapter 3 J. G. Ballard’s Dark Ecologies: Unsettling Nature, Animals, and Literary Tropes

Frida Beckman

Edinburgh University Press

Beckman explores the ways that some of J. G. Ballard’s works can be seen as exemplifying a “dark ecology,” a critique of the universalist concept of “Nature” that keeps animals and the nonhuman world distinct and separate from “the human”. Instead, Ballard’s surreal novels can be seen as resisting a fetishized representation of birds in particular, while calling into question the literary tropes of metamorphosis and allegory that have often served to keep nonhuman animals at a distance, “locking them up” discursively, rather than deconstructing the line between “the human” and “the animal.” Beckman prioritizes questions of form and representation in order to track changes in the development of Ballard’s novels over the course of his career. For Beckman, a different form of potential advocacy can be found in Ballard’s work in which postmodern allegory can be aligned with Timothy Morton’s dark ecology, refusing to hold up Nature as an ideal form.

Keywords:   dark ecology, Timothy Morton, J. G. Ballard, nature, “the human”, birds, metamorphosis, postmodern allegory

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