The Anthropocene Unconscious

Climate Catastrophe in Contemporary Culture

by Mark Bould

From Ducks, Newburyport to zombie movies to Fast and Furious, how climate anxiety permeates our culture.

The art and literature of our time is pregnant with catastrophe, with weather and water, wildness and weirdness. The Anthropocene—the term given to this geological epoch in which humans, anthropos, are wreaking havoc on the earth—is to be found bubbling away everywhere in contemporary cultural production. The Anthropocene, Mark Bould argues, constitutes the unconscious of “the art and literature of our time.”

Tracing the outlines of the Anthropocene unconscious in a range of film, television and literature—across a range of genres and with utter disregard for high-low culture distinctions—this playful and riveting book draws out some of the things that are repressed and obscured by the term “the Anthropocene,” including capital, class, imperialism, inequality, alienation, violence, commodification, patriarchy and racial formations. The Anthropocene Unconscious is about a kind of rewriting. It asks: what happens when we stop assuming that the text is not about the anthropogenic biosphere crises engulfing us? What if all the stories we tell are stories about the Anthropocene? About climate change?

There will be a Bristol launch at Book Haus (with Bristol Ideas and DCRC) on 9 November – please email Mark for further information.

Pre-order here