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Environmental Philosophy

Volume 12, Issue 2, Fall 2015

Patrícia Vieira
Pages 205-220

Phytographia
Literature as Plant Writing

This article develops the notion of plant writing or phytographia, the roots of which go back to the early modern concept of signatura rerum, as well as, more recently, to Walter Benjamin’s idea of a “language of things” and to Jacques Derrida’s arche-writing. Phytographia designates the encounter between the plants’ inscription in the world and the traces of that imprint left in literary works, mediated by the artistic perspective of the author. The final section of the essay turns to the so-called “jungle novel,” set in the Amazonian rainforest, as an instantiation of phytographia.

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