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Drill, Baby, Drill: Extraction Ecologies, Open Temporalities, and Reproductive Futurity in the Provincial Realist Novel

Abstract

The temporal structures of provincial realist novels set in extraction landscapes convey the new understanding of futurity that attended the nineteenth-century rise of an industrial system powered by a nonrenewable, diminishing stock of underground resources. Focusing on Joseph Conrad'sNostromo(1904), George Eliot'sThe Mill on the Floss(1860), and Fanny Mayne'sJane Rutherford; Or, the Miners' Strike(1853), this article demonstrates how these works adapt the provincial realist novel's emphasis on social renewal by way of marriage, reproduction, and inheritance to the extraction-based society of industrial Britain, undergirded by a trajectory of depletion and exhaustion rather than renewal. These works' deviation from novelistic chrononormativity expresses a new understanding of an extraction-based present that is claimed at the expense of future generations.

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