‘Me eatee him up’: cannibal appetites in Cloud Atlas and Robinson Crusoe

Ferguson, Paul ORCID logo ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1789-6395 (2015) ‘Me eatee him up’: cannibal appetites in Cloud Atlas and Robinson Crusoe. Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism, 19 (2). pp. 144-156.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1080/14688417.2015.1022869


This article considers the anthropocentric construction of the human subject in Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe, paying close attention to formal structure and the novel’s thematic concern with, and confusion of, both eating animals and cannibalism. By connecting Crusoe’s formal structure and thematic concerns with Mitchell’s Cloud Atlas, which opens with Crusoe’s central motif, I will go on to show that this novel attempts to imagine, and indeed formally enacts, a likely conclusion to the anthropocentric colonial expedition Robinson Crusoe is often said to represent. In this context cannibalism, as both a literal practice and a metaphor for consumer capitalism, is considered as part and parcel of a potentially catastrophic abstraction of the human from the ecosystem. As such, Cloud Atlas can be read as a minatory novel which attempts to work as a corrective to the consequences of a colonial adventure predicated not simply upon ‘otherness’ amongst humans but also between humans and the wider environment.

Item Type: Article
Journal / Publication Title: Green Letters: Studies in Ecocriticism
Publisher: Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
ISSN: 2168-1414
Departments: Academic Departments > Institute of Arts (IOA) > Humanities
Additional Information: Paul Ferguson is a lecturer at the Institute of the Arts, University of Cumbria.
Depositing User: Anna Lupton
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2016 16:51
Last Modified: 12 Jan 2024 13:46
URI: https://insight.cumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/2020


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