Informations and abstract
Keywords: anthropocene, ecocriticism, ecofeminism, Mary Shelley, The Last Man, gender studies, Romanticism.
Environmental Humanities, as well as the Anthropocene, are labels that are recurrently employed, nowadays, in many different fields of study and methodological approaches to the humanities. By addressing intersecting social problems from new ecological perspectives, one may effectively foreground the significance of stories, theories, narratives and other forms of discourse to the formation and sustenance of ecologically-sustainable social, economic and political practices. Recently, Romantic literature has been placed at the very centre of a new historicist methodology: one that highlights the ways in which eighteenth- and nineteenth-century conceptions resonate with us in the form of present-day notions and imaginings of climate change – especially with regard to questions of agency. Romantic studies, the notions of the Anthropocene and Environmental Humanities ought, therefore, to be considered in relation to one another in the context of a productive dialogue. Mary Shelley’s The Last Man constitutes a story about the challenges of collective calamities that involve the dynamic interactions of the human and the nonhuman, including a diverse range of interventions and processes. The novel resists fixed or reductive interpretations. Indeed, when it is read through a groundbreaking eco-feminist perspective, I contend that Shelley’s novel reveals characters – both female and male – who, in embracing fluidity in their gender roles, represent a range of literary voices: ones that respond and react to, and constantly engage with, the non-human world