Die Welt als Dorf: Neue Heimatromane von Dörte Hansen und Juli Zeh aus ecocritical Perspektive

Anke S. Biendarra


This essay focuses on the question of how relationships between humans and nature, Heimat and the provinces are negotiated narratively and aesthetically in Mittagsstunde (2018) by Dorte Hansen and Unterleuten (2016) by Juli Zeh. I read both novels as part of a new Rural Criticism that seeks to problematize human life in the Anthropocene and is committed to the critical interpretation of contemporary histories and realities. Both texts illustrate the urgent ecocrit-ical problems that the process of our civilizing nature, its economic utilization, and the climate crisis have engendered. I show that in the novels, weather, natural spaces, the protection of the environment, and alternative energies serve as catalysts for moving the plot forward. At the same time, these phenomena illustrate the close enmeshment of the characters with the surrounding natural world and the way it shapes their identity. Ultimately, I argue that while both texts can be read as manifestations of solastalgia, they also represent aesthetic approaches to climate change and environmental destruction that could aid in the establishment of a New Climatic Regime (Bruno Latour). (ASB, in German)

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