Meta-Critical Climate Change Fiction: Claire Vaye Watkins' Gold Fame Citrus

Crownshaw, Richard. 2022. Meta-Critical Climate Change Fiction: Claire Vaye Watkins' Gold Fame Citrus. In: Sarah Ensor and Susan Scott Parrish, eds. The Cambridge Companion to American Literature and the Environment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 105-119. ISBN 9781108841900 [Book Section]

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Focusing on Claire Vaye Watkins’s novel Gold Fame Citrus (2015), this chapter explores the dialogue between speculative climate change fiction and ecocriticism. Watkins’s narrative itineraries emplot some well-trodden themes, settings, and motifs of climate change fiction that have to some extent characterized the Anthropocene and the literary genre itself: desertification and extreme weather, toxic landscapes, uncontrollable environments, socio-economic and ecological collapse, the disposability of life, the prospect of extinction, and an imperiled future, all of which have been well theorized in ecocritical discourses. This chapter argues that the novel’s narration of climate change and the Anthropocene reads as theoretically informed, and, as such, anticipates (indeed provokes) its own paradigmatic theorization. What might be provoked in particular by navigating this generic terrain are theories of “reproductive futurism,” nonhuman agency, and scalarity, and, along with them, the opportunity to reflect critically on the limits and possibilities of the theory of climate change fiction, thereby revealing Watkins’s work as a form of meta-critical fiction. What emerges from this novelistic self-reflexivity are ecocritical complicities in the Anthropocene’s reification and histories of environmentally mediated violence and injustice, and the anthropogenesis of environmental catastrophe, otherwise screened by theory.

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English and Comparative Literature


1 August 2020Accepted
17 March 2022Published

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16 Feb 2022 09:30

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09 May 2022 10:30


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