Reading for the Planet

Toward a Geomethodology
Christian Moraru


In his new book, Christian Moraru argues that post-Cold War culture in general and, in particular, the literature, philosophy, and theory produced since 9/11 foreground an emergent “planetary” imaginary—a “planetarism”—binding in unprecedented ways the world’s peoples, traditions, and aesthetic practices. This imaginary, Moraru further contends, speaks to a world condition (“planetarity”) increasingly exhibited by human expression worldwide. Grappling with the symptoms of planetarity in the arts and the human sciences, the author insists, is a major challenge for today’s scholars—a challenge, Reading for the Planet means to address. Thus, Moraru takes decisive steps toward a critical methodology—a “geomethodology”—for dealing with planetarism’s aesthetic and philosophical projections. Here, Moraru analyzes novels by Joseph O’Neill, Mircea Cartarescu’s, Sorj Chalandon, Zadie Smith, Orhan Pamuk, and Dai Sijie, among others, as demonstration of his paradigm. 

Reading for the Planet is an intense, state-of-the-art update on the intrusion of planetary tropes and overall thinking into contemporary thought. It is the critical equivalent, although at the highest level of theoretical oversight, of a progress report—one whose relevance is sustainable at least over the next decade. It is written by a mind as unflagging in its rigor as it is tuned into a vast range of cultural artifacts and theoretical contributions.”
—Henry Sussman, Yale University

“The fact that Chris Marker began his career by launching a book series called ‘Little Planet’ suffices to substantiate Christian Moraru’s thesis: if we want to go beyond the quarrels opposing world literature and globalization, we must invest the planet with a new sense of urbanity and move between strategic sites (Cartarescu's, Bucharest, Ugrešic's Amsterdam, Houellebecq’s Paris, Pamuk’s Kars, Chalandon’s Beirut, Hamid’s Lahore, Mukherjee’s Gauripur, to name but a few, since, like Marker, Moraru has read everything) so as to define a planetary ethics beyond the ethnic. This remarkable critical synthesis offers both the rationale of an original ‘geomethodology’ and a wake-up call for the future humanities.”
—Jean-Michel Rabaté, University of Pennsylvania

“Christian Moraru’s new book will establish him as the leading scholar of planetarity, a mode of discourse that has emerged as a new cosmopolitan paradigm. He argues persuasively that his planetary reading model will promote, in the cultural sphere, the creation of genuine critical relationality and a truly human ecosystem.”
—John Pizer, Louisiana State University

“Reading for the Planet provides an exciting intellectual adventure through our cosmallogic world. Moraru manages to include both the writer and the readers in a planetarian dimension where literature and its study become key to understanding our complicated universe. We needed a method. Here we have something truly precious: a geomethodology.”
—Bertrand Westphal, Université de Limoges (France)

“Moraru’s pathbreaking study delivers a superbly insightful and comprehensive survey of recent thinking on the concepts of globe, world, and planet. His innovative manifesto for a ‘geomethodology’ in literary and cultural studies outlines new strategies for reading topographically, relationally, and ethically not just about the planet but for it, assuming stewardship for its diverse and conflicted social networks. Reading for the Planet is a major contribution to studies of globalization, world literature, and cosmopolitanism that no one interested in literature and reading today can afford to miss.”
—Ursula K. Heise, University of California, Los Angeles

“An ambitious proposal for a ‘geo-methodology’: at once a way to read, organize, and classify a large body of material, and an ethical project centered on environmental stewardship. Challenging and exhilarating.”
—Wai Chee Dimock, Yale University

Cover: “To You Alone” by Elke Claus © Morpho Gallery in Chicago.

Christian Moraru is Professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro. His latest books include Rewriting: Postmodern Narrative and Cultural Critique in the Age of Cloning (2001), Memorious Discourse: Reprise and Representation in Postmodernism (2005), the edited collection Postcommunism, Postmodernism, and the Global Imagination (2009), and Cosmodernism: American Narrative, Late Globalization, and the New Cultural Imaginary (2010).

Praise / Awards

  • "Moraru offers nuanced and fine readings of the Romanian novelist Mircea Cartarescu, the Chinese French novelist Dai Sijie, and more canonical world literature authors, like Zadie Smith and Orhan Pamuk, as models for how his geomethodology suits the intersections of place that occur within contemporary fiction."
    --American Literature
  • "Moraru’s reach is worldwide, with writers from Europe and Asia sharing prominence equally with Americans in this study."
    --Fiction: The 1960s to the Present

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Product Details

  • 256 pages.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Ebook
  • 2015
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12132-8

  • PDF: Adobe Digital Editions e-book (DRM Protected)

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  • Planetary, planetarism, planetary imaginary, global, world, worldedness, geocultural, geopolitical, geomethodology, cosmodernism, post-Cold War, netosphere, nethosphere, space, spatiality, territorialization, withness, postmodernism, contemporary, contemporary fiction, relationality, telescopy, ethics, criticism, planetary stewardship, literature, philosophy, world literature, comparative literature, critical theory