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Ballard, Smithson, and the biophilosophy of the crystal

Tynan, Aidan 2018. Ballard, Smithson, and the biophilosophy of the crystal. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism 22 (4) , pp. 398-411. 10.1080/14688417.2018.1535324

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This article pursues a non-green reading of The Crystal World (1966) that explores Ballard’s links with artist Robert Smithson, for whom the motif of the crystal was a key inspiration, and the biophilosophical ideas of Gilbert Simondon and Gilles Deleuze, who argue that crystals provide a non-organic model for understanding life. The crystal has occupied key positions in the interrelated histories of philosophy, art, and science. To show the significance of this for ecocritical theory and practice, I draw on Simondon’s work, which understands material processes of crystallisation in terms of an ontology of becoming that collapses distinctions between organic and inorganic. Deleuze applies these insights to his analysis of cinema through the notions of the ‘crystal image’ and ‘crystalline narration’, which I apply in turn to Ballard’s text. In this way, I propose an ecocritical reading of Ballard that resists antinomial oppositions of nature and culture.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: English, Communication and Philosophy
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1468-8417
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 26 September 2018
Date of Acceptance: 25 September 2018
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2021 20:56

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