Che tempo, che tempo: geology and environment in Max Frisch´s Der Mensch erscheint im Holozän
Critical readings of Frisch s Der Mensch erscheint im Holozän [Man in the Holo-cene] have tended to read its heterogeneous and inter-medial form as a code for the mental disintegration of its protagonist. This paper argues instead that this feature can be seen as a poetological engagement with geological and climatic timescales. Due to its hybrid ... form, the incorporation of a multiplicity of textual fragments and pictorial representations, the text undermines both conventional definitions of narra-tive and representations of nature. Holozän s non-linear structure establishes an aes-thetic of slowness that ushers in an awareness of the utterly different time schemes of geological and climatic processes. Furthermore, the importance of the material features, such as an interplay between text and image and the disconnected, paratac-tical arrangement of sentences mirrors the novel s focus on natural phenomena. Frisch s narrative establishes a poetics that tries to reach beyond the confinements of an anthropocentric perspective and thereby subverts the borders between culture and environment.
Original publication in
On_culture: the open journal for the study of culture 2 (2016)