Archive | October 2013

The Resources of Culture

solitary petrol pumpThe most recent issue of Reviews in Cultural Theory contains a thoughtful article by Graeme MacDonald setting out an argument for ‘re-energiz[ing] scenes from literary history’, for attending to ‘fiction’s effective recuperation and recycling of the energy forms made peripheral by the oil age and the cultural forms associated with it’. In this carefully constructed piece, framed by a reading of Italo Calvino’s 1973 work, “The Petrol Pump”, but covering an extensive range of literary encounters with oil, MacDonald makes a strong claim for the role of cultural theorists in seeking ways of imagining alternative energy futures through critical re-readings of literary texts. An expanded understanding of what might constitute ‘energy literature’, based on the claim that ‘all fiction is potentially energetic’, offers MacDonald the potential to imagine how culture might be ‘properly energized’, not to affirm, but to push at the limits of ‘petromodernity’.

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