The totality of the universe – organic and inorganic matter, human and other-than-human organisms, swirls of stardust – is vital, vibrant, agential, interrelated, alive. This is the basic premise of a range of theoretical work that is drawing greater attention across the academy under the frameworks of new materialism and posthumanism. For the most part, this work does not attend to spirituality and may even explicitly disavow any spiritual connotations. Yet this neglect means that aspects of this theoretical work remain undeveloped: in particular, the ways in which many of its core elements have been anticipated by Indigenous knowledges. In this article, I foreground the spiritual resonances of a vibrant cosmos through coalescing different modes of discourse. I explore the intersection between the recent ontological turn in literary and cultural theory and the animist worldviews framed by Indigenous traditions. The article concludes with a consideration of ecocritical strategies for reading modernist women’s writing that emerge from engagement with animist spiritualities and theories.
- New materialism
- women’s writing