Byzantine Posthumanism: Autopoiesis, Sympoiesis, and Making Kin in the Gardens of Romance
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Through an analysis of the Byzantine Achilleid, this chapter demonstrates that, although the Byzantine romances are often defined by the violence and patriarchal control exemplified by the hero-hunter Achilles, the enclosed gardens wherein the heroines of romance reside nevertheless depict a posthuman world in which humans, animals, and anthropogenic landscapes thrive in peaceful co-existence. Ecocritical readings of the medieval Greek romance, therefore, can also critique current environmental practice, modeling how Byzantine studies can become a discipline more aware of how its discourses are used in contemporary political and cultural discourses both within and beyond the academy, and how the practice of ethical cultural and literary studies—of which ecocriticism is a part—can be relevant to both scholarly and political debates.
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