Contemporary Compassions: Interrelating In The Anthropocene

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In this closing chapter, Kristine Steenbergh compares early modern configurations of compassion to contemporary notions of fellow-feeling in multispecies relations. The chapters in Compassion in Early Modern Literature and Culture: Feeling and Practice foreground how the emotion was a situated practice shaped by the religious battles of the Reformation. Like the Reformation, the Anthropocene is a fault line urging a rethinking of ideologies, values, and practices. Humankind’s impact on the earth’s ecosystems shapes a need for new worldviews which are less anthropocentric and more attuned to the interconnections between different life forms on our planet. Steenbergh demonstrates that in the work of Donna Haraway, Deborah Bird Rose and Thom van Dooren, compassion is envisaged as central to posthuman affective relations. In these relations, compassion is inflected similarly to early modern definitions of compassion as a literal ‘suffering-with’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCompassion in Early Modern Literature and Culture
Subtitle of host publicationFeeling and Practice
EditorsKristine Steenbergh, Katherine Ibbett
Place of PublicationCambridge
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages9
ISBN (Electronic)9781108862172, 9781108856508
ISBN (Print)9781108495394
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2021


  • compassion
  • anthropocene
  • non-human animals

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