What Is This Trash?: Closer Reading for an Endangered World

Kevin Trumpeter


The dead metaphor of “trash fiction” is in need of resuscitation or, better yet, of reincarnation. To recognize most any printed material as a disposable commodity suggests that those who are interested in discovering ways in which literature and environment interact would do well to begin by addressing the discipline’s own contribution to the world’s mass of disposable prose. Though ecocritical scholarship has drawn attention to important new themes for literary analysis, such studies are often conducted in much the same way as the cultural and formalist approaches they aim to supersede—asking the same kinds of questions, using the same methods to answer them, and conducting these debates in the same kinds of venues. In focusing so intently on the text’s ability to cast light upon elements of the environmental unconscious, the book’s role as an unconscious element of our modern environment has often been elided.


waste; garbage; books; technotext; paratext

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@Journal of Ecocriticism. ISSN 1916-1549