Henry David Thoreau stated in Walden (1854) that he had gone to the woods because he had wished to “live deliberately and to front the essential facts of life” to reject socially constructed universal truths. Nature is one of the most primitive and powerful sources of inspiration for artists and writers. The sense of sublimity lingers in natural imageries in literary works to amuse us. Many works from the realm of high arts explore the beauty of nature to remind us of transcendentalist ideas, while the new genre ‘eco-fiction’ or ‘Cli-Fi’ has risen to bring attention to environmental issues.
5 Mètres 80 (2012)
by Nicolas Deveaux
French philosopher Victor Cousin coined the phrase l’art pour l’art in the early 19th century. The slogan “art for art’s sake” advocates aestheticism – the doctrine that argues arts exists solely for the sake of its aesthetic values alone but not other sociopolitical reasons. Differentiating arts from other spheres of human life, the movement’s artists attempt to return arts to its purest aesthetic state and to defend their rights of free artistic expression against repressive political forces. French director Nicolas Deveaux is famous for his hilarious short films featuring anthropomorphic arts. In 5 Mètres 80, Deveaux has his animated giraffe performing high diving in an Olympic pool. Fusing human actions and natural creatures harmoniously, he is very experimental with anthropomorphic visual arts – he is dedicated to create queer yet pure visual enjoyment for his viewers.
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek (1974)
by Annie Dillard
With a postmodernist approach to her non-fictional piece Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Annie Dillard illustrates the earth metaphorically as a mason jar to present the ideas of Pantheism and theodicy which questions the ultimate truths of religions with sublime aesthetics. She beautifully portrays the cruelty and the beauty of nature to acknowledge her transcendentalist views towards the existence of God. Through the sublime imageries in the work, she presents her readers with the implacable realities of the natural world and the tininess of mankind.
The History of Bees (2015)
Norwegian author Maja Lunde introduces us to an emerging genre – Climatic Fiction. The History of Bees combines history, contemporary and a dystopian future to remind us of our relationship with nature. It is no news that bees are vital to our ecosystem. The novel consists of 3 plots that spread across 250 years, all surrounding the existence of bees and human survival, creating a parallel universe of human lives when bees started to be domesticated, disappearing and gone.
Categories: Weekly Features