Rising Continents: An Ecocritical Reading of Ursula K. Le Guin’s “The New Atlantis”

2017-05-23T10:24:45Z (GMT) by J. R. Burgmann
“The New Atlantis” is an interesting artefact in the oeuvre of Ursula K. Le Guin. To start with, it constitutes one of her few forays into the novella form; along with Always Coming Home (1985), the narrative takes place not only on Earth, but in her hometown of Portland, Oregon. “The New Atlantis” has received little scholarly interest since its publication in 1975, which is rather perplexing given that it so saliently envisages contemporary eco-social issues, including anthropogenic climate change (potentially making it a very early example of cli-fi). It thus seems reasonable to approach the text from an ecocritical angle. Within ecocriticism there are various positions germane to “The New Atlantis,” namely: deep ecology, ecofeminism, and social ecology. Specifically, I intend to evaluate Le Guin’s text through the rubrics of ecocriticism—Wilderness; Animals; Dwelling; Apocalypse; Pastoral; Future of the Earth, as defined by Gred Garrard in Ecocriticism.