My project, ‘Reading the Grain: The Forestry of Contemporary Literature’ is a piece of literary criticism that analyses how contemporary writers engage with scientific discourse and forest history to re-imagine our relationship with trees, woodlands,and forests.
The ‘grain’ in the title is a useful metaphor that speaks to my interest in identifying shared or cross-cutting themes in tree-centric writing whilst remaining attentive to the subtle differences that pattern each text. My project will take these cross-cutting themes and examine how the affects and aesthetics of trees in a growing body of tree-centric contemporary literature warp narrative and the cast of human characters into fresh forms.
I will ultimately argue that the multifarious patterns of wood in contemporary literature constitute what I am calling the forestry of writing – forestry being the science of planting, managing, and caring for trees. I am particularly interested in how contemporary authors nurture and propagate their literary trees.