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The end of the end of nature: the Anthropocene and the fate of the human

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>12/2012
<mark>Journal</mark>Oxford Literary Review
Issue number2
Number of pages20
Pages (from-to)165-184
<mark>Original language</mark>English


In this paper I explore the metaphor of the strata of the earth as ‘great stone book of nature’, and the Anthropocene epoch as its latest chapter. I suggest that the task of marking the base of the Anthropocene’s geological layer is entangled with questions about the human — about who would be the ‘onomatophore’ of the Anthropocene, would carry the name of ‘Anthropos’. I consider divergent ways of characterising the geological force of the Anthropocene — as Homo faber, Homo consumens and Homo gubernans — and situate this dispersal of the Anthropos within a more general dispersal of ‘man’ that occurs when human meets geology. I suggest that the becoming geological of the human in the Anthropocene is both the end of the great stone book of nature and the Aufhebung of ‘man’ — both his apotheosis and his eclipse.