A Home for the Anthropocene: Planetary Time and Domestic Space in Richard McGuire’s Here

Jon R Hegglund


My essay examines the concept of home in the context of the deep historical perspective of the Anthropocene. Drawing on ideas of non-human temporality from Eugene Thacker (the world-without-us) and Robert Markley (climatological time), ‘A Home for the Anthropocene’ explores the home as a representational site that juxtaposes spatial fixity with temporal mobility. I first discuss the difficulties that conventional narrative form has with rendering the non-human temporalities of planetary history—precisely because narrative does rely on some sort of anthropomorphic ‘hook.’ I then explore how Here incorporates the minimal anthropomorphic elements necessary for narrative through representative, everyday human activity rather than the sustained exposition of individualized human characters. Finally, I discuss how the defamiliarizing cognitive experience of reading Here is particular to the medium of graphic narrative, highlighting the experimental use of visual juxtaposition across temporal scales and the convergence of the projected storyworld with the materiality of the book itself. McGuire’s narrative helps us see the Anthropocene from within the frame of everyday spatiality rather than through the rhetorical distance of scientific objectivity or the displaced futurity of post-apocalyptic narrative. As much as the narrative ranges through a time that both precedes and outlasts human existence, it still establishes a decidedly human scale through its storytelling devices.


Anthropocene; domestic space; time; anthropomorphism; graphic novel; Here

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