Buku Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction by Heather Houser

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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction by Heather Houser

Author:Heather Houser

Language: eng

Format: epub

Tags: LIT004020, Literary Criticism/American/General, SCI026000, Science/Environmental Science

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Published: 2014-06-16T16:00:00+00:00

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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction by Heather Houser

He’d smoke his way through thirty high-grade grams [of marijuana] a day … an insane and deliberately unpleasant amount…. But he would force himself to do it anyway. He would smoke it all even if he didn’t want it. Even if it started to make him dizzy and ill. He would use discipline, persistence and will and make the whole experience so unpleasant, so debased and debauched and unpleasant, that his behavior would be henceforward modified…. He’d cure himself by excess.

(22)

Erdedy’s therapy builds off of the Alcoholics Anonymous principle that the addict must hit the lowest low before she can rehabilitate and surmount her addiction. His program also reveals the expected intimacy of excess and disgust: going too far sets one on a path to repulsion. But here, unlike in cases where we come face to face with putrid meat or a rotting cadaver, the subject and object of the affect merge. Erdedy plans to feel aversion in the hopes that aversion will turn back on him as a sort of homeopathic treatment. The final line here, “He’d cure himself by excess,” introduces a question germane to my analysis: can affective and aesthetic excesses—in particular, the disgusting—effectively counteract the afflictions of detachment that are endemic to the contemporary U.S.?

 

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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction by Heather Houser

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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction by Heather Houser

 

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Ecosickness in Contemporary U.S. Fiction by Heather Houser

Author:Heather Houser , Date: June 16, 2019

,Views: 78

Author:Heather Houser

Language: eng

Format: epub

Tags: LIT004020, Literary Criticism/American/General, SCI026000, Science/Environmental Science

Publisher: Columbia University Press

Published: 2014-06-16T16:00:00+00:00
He’d smoke his way through thirty high-grade grams [of marijuana] a day … an insane and deliberately unpleasant amount…. But he would force himself to do it anyway. He would smoke it all even if he didn’t want it. Even if it started to make him dizzy and ill. He would use discipline, persistence and will and make the whole experience so unpleasant, so debased and debauched and unpleasant, that his behavior would be henceforward modified…. He’d cure himself by excess.

(22)

Erdedy’s therapy builds off of the Alcoholics Anonymous principle that the addict must hit the lowest low before she can rehabilitate and surmount her addiction. His program also reveals the expected intimacy of excess and disgust: going too far sets one on a path to repulsion. But here, unlike in cases where we come face to face with putrid meat or a rotting cadaver, the subject and object of the affect merge. Erdedy plans to feel aversion in the hopes that aversion will turn back on him as a sort of homeopathic treatment. The final line here, “He’d cure himself by excess,” introduces a question germane to my analysis: can affective and aesthetic excesses—in particular, the disgusting—effectively counteract the afflictions of detachment that are endemic to the contemporary U.S.?

Infinite Jest is replete with characters whose potent, uncontrollable aversions to people, to secrecy, to walls, to bugs, to dirt, and to much else structure their lives. Readers first meet Orin, the oldest Incandenza son, in a scene that elaborates the habits he develops due to his cockroach phobia. He reflects on the first and only time he made the mistake of squashing one: “There’s still material from that one time in the [shower] tile-grouting. It seems unremovable. Roach-innards. Sickening” (45). Orin’s behaviors and surroundings are shaped by his avoidance and containment of the roach invasions. He takes scalding hot showers, and his home fills with the glass cups that he uses to capture and asphyxiate the critters. To call Infinite Jest a novel of addiction is incomplete, then, as it is just as much one of phobic aversion. If the ethical upshot of addiction is distantiation and callousness, what is the ethical upshot of an affect of aversion like disgust?

The text concentrates disgust in descriptions of the somatic effects of environmental reconfiguration and of poisoning through drugs. Only by diving into (or maybe subjecting herself to) the many pages of Infinite Jest in which disgust is prominent can the reader fully experience this emotion’s effects. Here a few vignettes must stand in for total immersion. I first return to and expand on a passage examined earlier. As Marathe enumerates Gertraude’s medical abnormalities, her body violates its bounds to incite the reader’s revulsion:

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