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Carin Franzén writes about ecological awareness

Carin Franzén, Professor of Literature, has written the article "Reading Loops with Boccaccio, Freud and Morton", published in the journal Humanities, MDPI publishing.

Décaméron de Boccace, BnF, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal.
Décaméron de Boccace, BnF, Bibliothèque de l'Arsenal.

The text is published in the special issue "Crisis, Dying, Apocalypse: Subjectivity, Progress, and Ecology in the Light of the Anthropocene". It is available in open access.

Read the article on the MDPI website



This article assesses the notion of ecological awareness through a re-reading of Giovanni Boccaccio’s classic Decameron, together with Sigmund Freud and Timothy Morton. The purpose is not primarily to trace antecedents to modern and late modern thought, but rather to follow a loop that in different ways is tangible in their works and links them together despite their temporal and thematic differences. If Freud and Morton possess heuristic value for a re-reading of Boccaccio, his way of articulating an earlier and freethinking vein in the humanist tradition may prompt us to see not only what an ecological thought may be, but also that it has always been there as an unconscious awareness. We suggest that such a loop can function as a liberating deviation from a linear idea of living at the end of times. In this article, we also follow this temporal and thematic loop as a tension between disruptiveness and interconnectedness that Freud metaphorically and mythologically describes as a battle between the two giants Thanatos and Eros. From Morton’s ecological perspective, everything’s interconnectedness (or Eros in Freud’s mythological description) is precisely what has been denied or repressed in the anthropocentric strive to master the world. What is interesting in this regard is that Boccaccio, by taking a specific disastrous event—the plague—as his starting point, also makes Thanatos and Eros the themes that interconnect his stories into a weird loop.

Read the article at MDPI:s website


About Carin Franzén

Carin Franzén
Carin Franzén.

Carin Franzén is Professor of Literature at the Department of Culture and Aesthetics. In her research she investigates the history of subjectivity in premodern as well as modern and contemporary European literature. Her theoretical frame is informed by among others, psychoanalytic criticism, gender studies and discourse theory.

More about her research