Expansions of the Real A Study of Climate Change Realism in Amitav Ghosh’s Gun Island

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Sten Moslund


This article explores the challenges posed by the Anthropocene and climate change to human perceptions of reality and the need to revise traditional notions of the real. The article examines Amitav Ghosh's novel Gun Island as an attempt by Ghosh to break free from the anthropocentric limitations in the realist tradition that he identifies in his critical work in The Great Derangement in order to give shape to a new climate change realism capable of representing larger than human realities. The article studies the literary strategies Ghosh uses in Gun Island to cause a post-anthropocentric reality to emerge from beneath its concealment by anthropocentric worldviews: from uncanny animations of settings by nonhuman agencies to a metafictional blurring of fiction, imagination, perception and more-than-human realities, which, the article argues, inspires new ways of reading the real and quite concretely performs some of literature’s affordances in the cultural struggle against climate change.

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