nature; ecocriticism; environmental history; water; Victorian fiction; Victorian non-fiction; material turn
Kluwick Ursula (2016), “Dickens in America - America in Dickens”, in Straub Julia (ed.), DeGruyter, Berlin, Basel, Beijing, Boston, Munich, 448-469.
Kluwick Ursula (2016), “Tod(es-)Maschine Hai.”, in PhiN - Philologie im Netz
, Beiheft 10/2016, 61-76.
Kluwick Ursula (2015), “Climate Change, the Novel, and the Bildungsroman: The Relation of Things in an Emergent World.”, in Emig Rainer and Jana Gohrisch (ed.), WVT, Trier, 329-340.
My postdoctoral project forms part of a recent interdisciplinary direction within literary and cultural studies which concentrates on environmental issues, and it focuses on representations of water in Victorian writing. I argue that water forms an ideal, though hitherto largely ignored, frame for explorations of literary Victorian engagements with the natural world, since water-related experiences frequently shaped the ways in which the Victorians conceptualised the non-human environment. While taking into account the metaphorical richness of water as one of the most ancient literary tropes, my project moves into a new direction by asking how the materiality of water, in addition to its symbolic significance, features in Victorian culture and literary production. It is interested in the manner in which (literary and material) engagements with water were influenced by cultural tradition as well as by specific environmental and social circumstances. While my core discipline is literature, I read literary texts alongside a variety of non-literary text types in order to examine the resonances between different Victorian water discourses, paying particular attention to their distinctive rhetorical and aesthetic strategies. Special emphasis lies on how these discourses engage with broader concerns of the age, such as public health, urbanisation, and national identity. My project contributes to historical literary ecocriticism, and it hopes to encourage a form of interdisciplinarity in environmental literary studies which does not exclusively seek inspiration with the natural sciences.