Jemma Deer’s Radical Animism: Reading for the End of the World (Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2020) invites the reader to take a moment and to ponder on the way of reading. In her book, the author challenges the narcissistic position of the human being: a status that has been established for some time and which has already been challenged before but does not seem to be changing quickly. The Anthropocene reveals the dangers which are connected to the human centrality and power; on the other hand, it requires new ways of engaging with the environment. These new ways are not limited to the gestures of consideration in relation to the profound changes that led to climate change in particular. They ask for a new mode of thinking when the inanimate is part and parcel of the human being. In this regard, Jemma Deer draws attention to reading and writing as ways and modes of engaging with the inanimate and with the environment that serves as a habitat for the acts of reading and writing. The book offers strategies for reading literary texts across cultures and times: the works by Shakespeare, Lewis Carroll, Virginia Woolf reveal new echoes in the context of the Anthropocene. Radical Animism is a gentle invitation to abandon human superiority and to explore the ways that subvert a conventional hierarchy of the human and the non-human.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD student in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures.