Een ecokritische lezing van Het tegenovergestelde van een mens van Lieke Marsman en Vissen redden van Annelies Verbeke

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In the last ten years more and more intellectuals have discussed the role of mankind in the anthropocene, the current geological age, viewed as the period during which human activity has been the dominant influence on climate and the environment. Despite the growing understanding and awareness of climate change there are still few contemporary Dutch novels that thematize the problems people are facing in this period. However, I found two novels that address the current climate issues: Het tegenovergestelde van een mens (2017) by Lieke Marsman and Vissen redden (2009) by Annelies Verbeke. In the first part of this thesis I analyze which elements of the role of mankind in the anthropocene can be found in those two novels. I argue that Ida and Monique, the two protagonists, worry about the planetary health. In their combat against climate change they find out how hard it is to lose their central position in the world. No matter how hard they try to engage with fish, seas, mountains or something comprehensive like the environment, they always stick to their own human consciousness: a fundamental anthropocentric point of view. In this part of the thesis I refer to the ideas of Morton, Klein and Hamilton. In the second part I collect and examine the representation of the climate and the environment. Here I use the ideas of Ghosh about the function literature can have in depicting the problems of the anthropocene. This ultimately answers the following research question: what elements of the role of mankind in the anthropocene occur in Het tegenovergestelde van een mens (Marsman 2017) and Vissen redden (Verbeke 2009) and how do these elements relate to the representation of the climate?
Faculteit der Letteren