THE PLASTIC TURN
The Plastic Turn offers a novel way of looking at plastic as the defining material of our age and at the plasticity of plastic as an innovative means of understanding the arts and literature. Ranjan Ghosh terms this approach the material-aesthetic and, through this concept, traces the emergence and development of plastic polymers along the same historical trajectory as literary modernism. Plastic’s growth as a product in the culture industry, its formation through multiple application and chemical syntheses, and its circulation via oceanic movements, Ghosh argues, correspond with, and offers novel insights into, developments in modernist literature and critical theory.
Through innovative readings of canonical modernist texts, analyses of art works, and accounts of plastic’s devastating environmental impact, The Plastic Turn proposes plastic’s unique properties and destructive ubiquity as a “theory machine” to explain literature and life in the Anthropocene. Introducing several new concepts (like plastic literature, plastic literary, etc.) into critical-humanist discourse, Ghosh enmeshes literature and theory, materiality and philosophy, history and ecology, to explore why plastic as a substance and as an idea intrigues, disturbs, and haunts us.