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Life, Re-Scaled

Life, Re-Scaled
Liliane Campos, Pierre-Louis Patoine

Ben De Bruyn
Derek Woods
Eliane Beaufils
Hannah Simpson
Jason Tougaw
Kirsten E. Shepherd-Barr
Kristin M. Ferebee
Liliane Campos
Pascale Antolin
Paul Hamann-Rose
Pierre-Louis Patoine
Pieter Vermeulen
Rishi Goyal
Sophie Laniel-Musitelli
Susan Squier

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, eco-fiction, 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.
OpenBook Publishers

Liliane Campos

A professor of Literary and Theatre Studies in the Department of Anglophone Studies at the University la Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3, Liliane Campos is particularly interested in contemporary Anglophone literature, the biological perspective in literature, and the intromissions of the living into contemporary art. She is also a lecturer in Anglophone and theatre studies.


In her own words: “My project explores the biological position taken by contemporary literature in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries from an aesthetic, epistemic and ethical point of view. My central hypothesis is that the images and discourses of the life sciences produce, in literature, a shifting of the scales, modifying our perception of the human. It is about measuring the hermeneutic role of these disruptions, the political issues they raise, and their effects on literary form. My personal research focuses on Anglophone literature, from the 1980s to the present day, and is part of a programme of meetings that address contemporary literature in an international and inter-artistic context.”


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