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Measured Chaos: EcoPoet(h)ics of the Wild in Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer

Abstract : Ecopoetics forms a human expression of the naturecultures that sustain us, enfolding us within an earth that is much more than a mere environment. In consequence, the ecopoet serves as a mediator between the multitudinous voices and lifeforms that take part in the song of the world. Weaving its way into the matter and texts of the world, human language-I argue in the wake of new materialism-provides the measure of and seeks inspiration in the apparent randomness and underlying design motivating the evolution of complex systems in the universe. I interweave approaches originating in Anglophone ecocriticism and ecophilosophy with ecopoetics-as Jonathan Bate and Scott Knickerbocker have defined it-with its close attention paid to the complex, interlaced fabric of the text. Barbara Kingsolver's ecopoet(h)ics draws from chaos theory, inviting readers to shift interpretative paradigms, moving away from linear, binary grids of logic and reading, toward integrating complex, overlapping systems of meaning. Focusing on Kingsolver's novel Prodigal Summer (2000), this paper argues that, as Snyder once put it, art is not so much "an imposition of order on chaotic nature, freedom, and chaos;" rather it is "a matter of discovering the grain of things, of uncovering the measured chaos that structures the natural world," of revealing "the way [wild] phenomena actualize themselves," including within a wild ecopoetic language.
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Bénédicte Meillon. Measured Chaos: EcoPoet(h)ics of the Wild in Barbara Kingsolver's Prodigal Summer. Ecozon@, Alcalá de Henares Madrid: Universidad de Alcalá de Henares, 2019, 10 (1), pp.60-80. ⟨hal-02450962⟩



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