About: Eco-read reading and discussion group

Welcome to our Eco-read

Mattering is an important part of eco-reading: This is a shared space of narratives that include more than human stories. Here, the place matters, the reader matters, the novel matters, the author matters, the narrative matters as much as the voice matters. The author is not dead, nor is nature or history. Reading novels about what you yourself love matters. It inspires and stimulates; it gives courage. Courage matters. A great deal.

So, welcome on board if you share a pressing responsibility to act, but also question the acting. Both of those matter.

Discover narratives that embrace complexities of life

This “place” became a “place” while I sat in an apartment I call home, in the middle of Oslo during the corona lock-down, with a husband and a two year old child. By myself (whenever that would be), and next to the income-providing work, I worked on what would become my thesis, titled “Writing the self in the Anthropocene: agency and accountability in the age of posthuman”. My detective job was investigating continuities of identity between the human and nonhuman, exploring these in the genre of autobiographical writing and ecocritical literature. And, as probably anyone who ever tried to be a hermet, I experienced what it feels like to miss the ‘real’ and ‘social’-life continuities. Covid19 did not help. Everything felt stiff, zoom-ed, online, cut off. Each in our own window, virtual or physical, on a balcony, in a bubble, or a mask, we were left to our own devices – forgetting, or maybe precisely because of all this, realizing that our bodies do not end with the edges of our skin. Viruses know this. More people should know that too, that was the general idea, so we were locked up.

The continuities I so focus on – they are implicit and unavoidable. They are spatial and temporal simultaneously. Identity is shared across relationships in the here and now. Identity’s history constitutes each and every- “one’s” particular story. I would read and listen to all I could get my fingers on: anything “ecocritically/life-writing-about” I would eye, ear or otherwise conceive of, while being split into 3 zooms at once…(real story). The more I exposed myself to all these readings, texts, narratives, discussions and discourses, the more I felt the need, the necessity to share the ‘moments of being’ these readings generated, because, ‘behind the cotton wall’, they connected with more. And the more they did that, the more I remembered that this was never supposed to be a lonely venture, and that I was not a hermet.

So, please. this is an invite to join. to speak. to share. to generate. to get co-excited. inspire.

Hopefully not only via ‘zooming into each other’s living rooms’…

My name is Martina Mercellova. I am a master student of English literature at the University of Oslo and an Arne Næss grant-holder at the Centre for Development and the Environment. I am in love with (more than western) theory. I see a huge potential in the intersection of the autobiographical and the ecocritical for the recognition of the self, able to act – responsibly.

Come on board! Enjoy the fire. Let’s continue!

our readings

Like leaves of grass, we are interconnected. Braiding the sweetgrass, we embrace the connections. Humans or hawks, we can hear the sound of a snail eating, what the ants are saying, or how a rattlesnake moves under the porch. Overstory or underland, gathering moss, we may uncover our own roots.

Now, how many references to published and well-received econarratives have you noticed in the above? Check out our reading list and see where our discussions on them led us. Step by step, bird by bird. ‘The story of more’ matters to you once you engage with it.

criticism and theory

There are different ways of how to engage with an econarrative. Ecocriticism contains dozens of pathways and angles into the genre, some of them more provocative and contrasting than others.

Here we discuss ecocriticism and its role in understanding ecoliterature. Econarratives regarding topics such as ecology, relationships between a narrative “I” and her lifeworld, or phenomenology of dependencies that are not limited to human experience, all of these invite the reader into a dialogue. The dialogue can be critical.

broader context

Zooming out of the ‘small is beautiful’, and putting the narrative and critical details aside, the particularities make up a map, a continuum, where the the landscape is vast, dynamic, and interdisciplinary. What is the history of econarratives? Where do they come from? Have they ever “not been here”? What is the context for their appreciation?

Here we share our thoughts on the broader phenomenon of the green, on ecocriticism, indigeneity, environmental ethics, history of sustainability, activism, or emission reduction. Join our (broader) conversation!