Details

ISBN-10: 022652681X
ISBN-13: 9780226526812
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 07/24/2017
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.40" W, 0.60" H

The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable

Paperback

Price: $15.00

Overview

Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability–at the level of literature, history, and politics–to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.

Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence–a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time.

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Reviews
"Ghosh, who has previously broached environmental questions in fiction (The HungryTide, the Ibis trilogy, and elsewhere), here steps back from the role of storyteller to analyze modern literature, history, and politics. His purpose is to show that all three cultural modes share assumptions that render climate change unthinkable, occluding our view of its dangers rather than aiding our understanding. . . . To tackle climate change, we would need not only to overcome climate denialism and our reliance on fossil fuels, but also our commitment to moral uplift. The radical restructuring of global power requires more than a good conscience and respect for individuals. From this perspective, the humanities and human sciences confront their greatest challenge armed only with rusting tools forged for another age. 'The climate crisis is, ' as Ghosh writes, 'also a crisis of culture, and thus of the imagination.'"
– "Times Literary Supplement"
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Details

ISBN-10: 022652681X
ISBN-13: 9780226526812
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
Publish Date: 07/24/2017
Dimensions: 8.40" L, 5.40" W, 0.60" H
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