Roundtable: Beyond the Anthropocene: Post-Anthropocentric Approaches Across Literature and Theory (Katarzyna Więckowska, Tomasz Dobrogoszcz & Tymon Adamczewski)
Title: Vibrant Textualities: Material and Speculative Poetics of Contemporary Eco-minded Literature and Theory
Abstract: Given the multifaceted character of the current climate crisis, it comes as no surprise that both theory and literature seek new forms of rethinking and representing reality. Among these attempts, New Materialism, Speculative Realism and Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO) provide particularly intriguing revisions of the significance and agency of things, natural phenomena and all kinds of matter. Correspondingly, literary practice not only willingly embraces these positions but also provides occasions for enacting these more-than-human realities and agencies. Whereas in Wśród przyjaciół (Among friends )by Maciej Sieńczyk disparate household objects are given voice, Irene Solà’s When I Sing, Mountains Dance (2022) casts various entities (e.g. animals, mountains, clouds) as narrators of the story, and in Jeff VanderMeer’s novella This World is Full of Monsters (2017) it is the story itself that asserts agency. Interestingly, apart from offering a post-anthropocentric perspective, most of these examples also attempt to enact it through typography or their use of visual elements. Similar strategies can also be found in what Graham Harman calls “the literature of criticism” (cf. Speculative Drawing 2011- 2014 by Arvensian, Töpfer ), which calls for an experimental approach to thinking and depictability of ideas. Taking cue from such hybrid forms, I propose a comparative reading of the role of materiality in selected literary and theoretical projects. My focus will be directed towards the works devoting special attention to conceptualizing and manifesting the agency of (hyper)objects and matter beings, so that vibrant matter (Bennett) can effectively be also seen as vibrant textuality (Moslund, Marcusen, Pedersen).
Bio: Tymon Adamczewski is university professor at the Department of Anglophone Literatures of Kazimierz Wielki University in Bydgoszcz, Poland, where he teaches literary and cultural studies. He is currently the Primary Investigator in the Polish National Science Centre grant entitled The Matter of Words: (Im)Materiality of Literature in Multimodal and Experimental Texts. He recently edited a monograph entitled All Along Bob Dylan: America and the World (Routledge 2020) and is the author of Following the Textual Revolution: The Standardization of Radical Critical Theories of the 1960s (McFarland 2016), as well as numerous articles published in various international academic venues (e.g., JPMS, AVANT, Image [&] Narrative, NJES). His interests include critical discourses of contemporary humanities, experimental literature, ecocriticism, and music.