Extrapolation

“The key to this immense metallized landscape”

Reading J. G. Ballard’s Crash as an Ecological Structure of Feeling

Extrapolation (2018), 59, (1), 47–69.

Abstract

This essay aims to expand the range of approaches to studying Crash, and perhaps Ballard’s fiction more broadly, by exploring the eco-ideological forms and structures within this novel. Specifically, the essay reads Crash within a historical context of emerging ecological awareness and concern—an era that included the nearly concurrent publications of Arne Naess’s theory of Deep Ecology, Lovelock and Margulis’s Gaia Hypothesis, Raymond Williams’s The Country and the City, and Gregory Bateson’s Steps to an Ecology of Mind, to name a few key cultural influences. By attending to the landscapes, especially as they converge with infrastructure, and other nonhuman elements of Crash, this essay shifts the heretofore overwhelming critical focus on the human body in scholarship on this novel to an ecocritical focus on its narrative of systems and structures within which people live and evolve. Ultimately this essay claims that ecocritical study of novels like Crash provokes us to work through retrograde ideologies of Nature and what it means to be human as we can plan for our existence in the Anthropocene.

Access Token
£25.00
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Ballard, J. G. Crash. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1973. Print. Crash Google Scholar

Ballard, J. G. “Interview with JGB by Graeme Revell.” Re/Search 8–9 (1984): 42–53. Print. Interview with JGB by Graeme Revell Re/Search 8–9 42 53 Google Scholar

Ballard, J. G. “Introduction to Crash, French Edition.” Re/Search 8–9 (1984): 96–98. Print. Introduction to Crash, French Edition Re/Search 8–9 96 98 Google Scholar

Bateson, Gregory. Steps to an Ecology of Mind. Chicago: U of Chicago P, 1972. Print. Steps to an Ecology of Mind Google Scholar

Baudrillard, Jean. Simulacra and Simulation. Trans. Sheila Faria Glaser. Ann Arbor: U of Michigan P, 1994. Print. Simulacra and Simulation Google Scholar

Brand, Stewart, Editor. Whole Earth Catalog. Menlo Park, CA: Portola Institute, Spring 1969. Print. Whole Earth Catalog Google Scholar

Butterfield, Bradley. “Ethical Values and Negative Aesthetics: Reconsidering the Baudrillard-Ballard Connection.” Publications of the Modern Language Association 114.1 (1999): 64–77. Print. Ethical Values and Negative Aesthetics: Reconsidering the Baudrillard-Ballard Connection Publications of the Modern Language Association 114.1 64 77 Google Scholar

Davis, Nick. “‘An Unrehearsed Theatre of Technology’: Oedipalization and Vision in Ballard’s Crash.” Imagining Apocalypse: Studies in Cultural Crisis. Ed. David Seed. New York: St. Martin’s P, 2000. 136–150. Print. ‘An Unrehearsed Theatre of Technology’: Oedipalization and Vision in Ballard’s Crash Imagining Apocalypse: Studies in Cultural Crisis 136 150 Google Scholar

Day, Aidan. “Ballard and Baudrillard: Close Reading Crash.” English 49 (Autumn 2000): 277–293. Print. Ballard and Baudrillard: Close Reading Crash English 49 277 293 Google Scholar

Foucault, Michel. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of Human Sciences. New York: Vintage, 1970. Print. The Order of Things: An Archaeology of Human Sciences Google Scholar

Galison, Peter. “The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Wiener and the Cybernetic Vision.” Critical Inquiry 21.1 (1984): 228–266. Print. The Ontology of the Enemy: Norbert Wiener and the Cybernetic Vision Critical Inquiry 21.1 228 266 Google Scholar

Gibson, William. Neuromancer. New York: Ace Books, 1984. Print. Neuromancer Google Scholar

Gilpin, William. “From Three Essays: On Picturesque Beauty; On Picturesque Travel; and On Sketching Landscape.” British Literature: 1780–1830. Ed. Anne K. Mellor and Richard E. Matlak. Boston: Heinle & Heinle, 1996. 138–140. Print. From Three Essays: On Picturesque Beauty; On Picturesque Travel; and On Sketching Landscape British Literature: 1780–1830 138 140 Google Scholar

Hayles, N. Katherine. “The Borders of Madness.” Science-Fiction Studies 18 (1991): 321–323. Print. The Borders of Madness Science-Fiction Studies 18 321 323 Google Scholar

Head, Dominic. “Beyond 2000: Raymond Williams and the Ecocritic’s Task.” The Environmental Tradition in English Literature. Ed. John Parham. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. 24–36. Print. Beyond 2000: Raymond Williams and the Ecocritic’s Task The Environmental Tradition in English Literature 24 36 Google Scholar

Latham, Rob. “Biotic Invasions: Ecological Imperialism in New Wave Science Fiction.” Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction. Ed. Gerry Canavan and Kim Stanley Robinson. Middletown, CT: Wesleyan UP, 2014. 77–95. Print. Biotic Invasions: Ecological Imperialism in New Wave Science Fiction Green Planets: Ecology and Science Fiction 77 95 Google Scholar

Lovelock, J. E. Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1979. Print. Gaia: A New Look at Life on Earth Google Scholar

Luckhurst, Roger. “The Angle Between Two Walls”: The Fiction of J. G. Ballard. New York: St. Martin’s P, 1997. Print. “The Angle Between Two Walls”: The Fiction of J. G. Ballard Google Scholar

Marx, Karl. Capital, Volume I. Trans. Ben Fowkes. London: Penguin Books, 1990. Print. Capital, Volume I Google Scholar

Maturana, Humberto R., and Francisco J. Varela. Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living. Boston: D. Reidel Publishing, 1980. Print. Autopoiesis and Cognition: The Realization of the Living Google Scholar

Maturana, Humberto R., and Francisco J. Varela. The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding. Trans. Robert Paolucci. Boston: Shambhala P, 1998. Print. The Tree of Knowledge: The Biological Roots of Human Understanding Google Scholar

Naess, Arne. “The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary.” Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 16.1 (1973): 95–100. Print. The Shallow and the Deep, Long-Range Ecology Movement: A Summary Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 16.1 95 100 Google Scholar

Rozelle, Lee. “‘I Am the Island’: Dystopia and Ecocidal Imagination in Rushing to Paradise, Super-Cannes, and Concrete Island.” ISLE 17.1 (2010): 61–71. Print. ‘I Am the Island’: Dystopia and Ecocidal Imagination in Rushing to Paradise, Super-Cannes, and Concrete Island ISLE 17.1 61 71 Google Scholar

Sobchack, Vivian C. “Baudrillard’s Obscenity.” Science-Fiction Studies 18 (1991): 327–329. Print. Baudrillard’s Obscenity Science-Fiction Studies 18 327 329 Google Scholar

Tatsumi, Takayuki. “Which Way to Coincidence?: A Queer Reading of J.G. Ballard’s Crash.” Full Metal Apache: Transactions between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America. Durham: Duke UP, 2006. 86–92. Print. Which Way to Coincidence?: A Queer Reading of J.G. Ballard’s Crash Full Metal Apache: Transactions between Cyberpunk Japan and Avant-Pop America 86 92 Google Scholar

Wiener, Norbert. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine. Cambridge, MA: The MIT P, 1948. Print. Cybernetics or Control and Communication in the Animal and the Machine Google Scholar

Williams, Raymond. Marxism and Literature. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1977. Print. Marxism and Literature Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Hageman, Andrew