Ecocriticism as Subversive Aesthetics

Jelka Kernev Štrajn


Art is subversive when it crosses the boundary of the generally acceptable, though over time such art can and does become mainstream. A much more complicated question is what is subversive in aesthetics? Ecocriticism has already become, along with ecofeminism and animal studies, an academic discipline. It can be defined as subversive if it is understood in terms of an attitude, which is not anthropocentric. And here is the catch: how can the human also encompass the alien? The question that emerges here is all but rhetorical: how can we decentre and amplify our human consciousness and perspective to include zoocentric, biocentric or geocentric positions? At this point the contemporary theory creates contrasting opinions, which cross the boundaries of aesthetics, poetics and ecocriticism since they reach out to the fields of metaphysics and antimetaphysics. Within the phenomenon of perception the other always appears, as Deleuze said in his Logic of Sense, as “a priori Other”. We have to deal, henceforth, with a kind of pre-reflexive level of consciousness and amplified sensory perception, which, as we know, is the basic condition of artistic creation. Thus, this paper – because it seeks to penetrate into the node of these questions – takes literary art as its starting point. In the spirit of the above-mentioned observations, I have attempted to investigate in ‘minority literature’ (female authors of contemporary Polish and Slovene literature) how this decentred attitude, which Jure Detela, a Slovene poet, poetically defined, corresponds to our thesis on a particular ecocritical stream, which can be defined as an ecofeminist aesthetics. The ‘minoritarian literature’ here is meant exclusively in the sense that was defined by Deleuze and Guattari’s books Kafka and A Thousand Plateaus.


Article received: April 12, 2019; Article accepted: July 6, 2019; Published online: October 15, 2019; Original scholarly paper

How to cite this article: Kernev Štrajn, Jelka. "Ecocriticism as Subversive Aesthetics." AM Journal of Art and Media Studies 20 (2019): 17-25. doi: 10.25038/am.v0i20.321


anthropocentrism; ecocriticism; ecofeminism; minoritarian literature; untimely; subversiveness.

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