The most recent issue of Novel, “Land and the Novel,” features essays from two symposiums held at Duke University in October 2013 and the biennial Society for Novel Studies Conference in Salt Lake City in April 2014. “I was intrigued by the coincidence that within the same year, two different planning committees for quite separate events independently decided on such closely related conference themes,” Novel editor Nancy Armstrong writes in the introduction to the issue.
Included in “Land and the Novel” are two keynote addresses. In his keynote, Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o offers an Alice-through-the-looking-glass explanation of what it was like to write a novel that reflects on everyday cultural experience from the perspective of the unreal space of prison. Ursula K. Heise’s keynote, “Terraforming for Urbanists,” examines the convergence of the science-fiction motif of terraforming with current discussions of the Anthropocene.
The essays that follow the keynotes are arranged in chronological order. Additional topics include taxonomic capture in James Fenimore Cooper’s The Prairie, walking in Bleak House, and novel spaces and the limits of the planetary, among others. Browse the table of contents and read the introduction, made freely available.
For more reading on the Anthropocene, check out our blog post on recent scholarship in the humanities.