Menu Expand

Tiefenzeitliche Erinnerungen in der anthropozänen Literatur

Auf dem Weg zu einer Theorie des naturkulturellen Gedächtnisses

Dürbeck, Gabriele | Probst, Simon

Kulturwissenschaftliche Zeitschrift, Bd. 2023 (2023), Iss. 1: S. 50–74

Zusätzliche Informationen

Bibliografische Daten

Dürbeck, Gabriele

Probst, Simon


With the increasing interconnectedness of nature and culture in the Anthropocene, new narratives about humanity’s past, present, and future have been emerging. This is associated with a restructuring of cultural memory in the context of Earth history. To contribute to a better understanding of these changes, this paper takes recourse to approaches from Memory Studies. In a post-humanist extension of Memory Studies, the so-called archives of nature (sediments, fossils, ice cores, tree growth rings, corals) are described as the material basis of a natural-cultural memory. The concept of natural-cultural memory refers to the totality of cultural practices and institutions which make the archives of Earth history accessible and thereby constitute a culturally significant time horizon. A crucial question here is how the interplay of cultural archives and the archives of nature as repositories of the past contributes to the specific functioning of natural-cultural memory and which commonalities and differences are constituted in the process. The article develops the general outline of a theory of natural-cultural memory through a comparative analysis of Esther Kinsky’s poetry collection Schiefern (2020) and Robert Macfarlane’s travelogue Underland. A Deep Time Journey (2019). As a result, it becomes clear how literary texts of the ›self-conscious‹ Anthropocene reflect on memory processes in a deep-time context, albeit its continuity is threatened by the cumulative effects of human activities.