Fueling Creativity

Posted by on Jul 1, 2011
Fueling Creativity


The latest issue of PMLA, the journal of the Modern Language Association, features a group of articles examining how scholars might read literary texts with an eye on energy. “Instead of divvying up literary works into hundred-year intervals or categories harnessing the history of ideas,” editor and University of Michigan professor Patricia Yaeger asks, “what happens if we sort texts according to the energy sources that made them possible?”

Inside Higher Ed‘s Scott McLemee argues that this sort of materialist analysis could get out hand, as in the people “you sometimes run into at the Library of Congress snack bar–the ones clutching notebooks full of evidence that the Cold War was about the control of potassium deposits.” But the University of Alberta’s Imre Szeman responds that the project is less about resource determinism than about thematizing how authors and their publics draw on shared understandings of nature and technology to construct meaning. An exciting project, and one that we look forward to engaging with here at Rice.