Earlier is Impossible. Deep Time and Geological Posthumanism in Dutch Fiction

Ben De Bruyn

Abstract


What if we radically changed the scale of our imagination as literary readers and cultural historians? Developing recent claims on behalf of the importance of a broader, planetary perspective in literary history, this article argues that the study of Dutch literature would benefit from a 'big historicism', which takes into account the age of the earth and actively reconstructs the changing literary representation of the prehistoric past and the posthuman future. More specifically, the article analyzes the role of 'deep time' in classic and contemporary forms of Dutch fiction, including novels by Willem Frederik Hermans, Dimitri Verhulst, Stephan Enter and Jeroen Brouwers.

Keywords


Contemporary Literature; Literature and Science; Literary History; Posthumanism; Deep Time

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