Literary Responses to Climate Change

By Jennifer Michaels.

Published by The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Many literary texts have grappled with the impact of atomic energy and the atomic bomb on human beings. This has, however, not been the case with climate change. Only recently have some writers turned to this subject. In order to promote such literary texts and to encourage discussion about the dangers of climate change, the Neue Zürcher Zeitung (New Zurich Newspaper) invited nine international writers to contribute pieces in 2007 to a series of first-hand accounts of how climate changes affected them. These nine writers, whose texts appeard in 2007, are from such countries as the United States, South Africa, Denmark, Russia, India, Sri Lanka, Nigeria, and Switzerland and they address many different aspects of climate change and its impact on human beings. Using these texts as a starting point, this paper will examine both these and other authors’ concerns about climate change in a variety of contemporary literary texts and how their goal in their works is to promote debate, understanding, and change.

Keywords: Climate Change, Contemporary Authors, Contemporary Literary Texts, Human Impact of Climate Change

The International Journal of Climate Change: Impacts and Responses, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp.71-82. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.673MB).

Prof. Jennifer Michaels

Professor of German, Rosenthal Professor of Humanities, German Department, Grinnell College, Grinnell, Iowa, USA

Jennifer E. Michaels received her Ph.D. from McGill University in Montreal and is Professor of German and Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Professor of Humanities at Grinnell College in Iowa where she has taught since 1975. She has published four books: D.H. Lawrence: The Polarity of North and South (1976); Anarchy and Eros: Otto Gross’ Impact on German Expressionist Writers (1983); Franz Jung: Expressionist, Dadaist, Revolutionary and Outsider (1988); and Franz Werfel and the Critics (1994). Her main teaching and research interests are twentieth-century German and Austrian literature and culture, including migration to Germany and the development and history of the Green party that has been vocal against atomic power plants and very concerned about climate change. She has published numerous articles on German and Austrian authors that have appeared in a variety of journals and collections. At Grinnell College she has served on many committees, including chairing the German Department and the Humanities Division. She has been active in professional associations and has served as President of the German Studies Association, as President of the Rocky Mountain Modern Language Association, and as the German Studies Association’s delegate to the American Council of Learned Societies.


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