This edited volume explores new engagements with the life sciences in contemporary fiction, poetry, comics and performance. The gathered case studies investigate how recent creative work reframes the human within microscopic or macroscopic scales, from cellular biology to systems ecology, and engages with the ethical, philosophical, and political issues raised by the twenty-first century’s shifting views of life. The collection thus examines literature and performance as spaces that shape our contemporary biological imagination.
Comprised of thirteen chapters by an international group of academics, Life, Re-Scaled: The Biological Imagination in Twenty-First-Century Literature and Performance engages with four main areas of biological study: ‘Invisible scales: cells, microbes and mycelium’, ‘Neuro-medical imaging and diagnosis’, ‘Pandemic imaginaries’, and ‘Ecological scales’. The authors examine these concepts in emerging forms such as plant theatre, climate change art, ecofiction and pandemic fiction, including the work of Jeff Vandermeer, Jon McGregor, Jeff Lemire, and Extinction Rebellion’s Red Rebel Brigade performances.
This valuable resource moves beyond the biological paradigms that were central to the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, to outline the specificity of a contemporary imagination. Life, Re-Scaled is crucial reading for academics, scholars, and authors alike, as it proposes an unprecedented overview of the relationship between literature, performance and the life sciences in the twenty-first century.