chapter  2
65 Pages

Natural History and Postmodern Grafting

The texts included are in the order that they are discussed: John Updike's The Witches of Eastwick, A. S. Byatt's novella, 'Morpho Eugenia', Jeanette Winterson's Sexing the Cherry and Carol Shields's Larry's Party. The postmodern writer takes an approach very much like the postmodern gardener described. On the one hand, they have in common the notion that Natural History—and thus the garden—has been a key player in the construction of cultural doxa and thus rely on it for historical reference. On the other, Natural History—and the garden—must therefore be present in texts which 'de-doxify'. This is not to say that Natural History has no credence but rather that the way it has been posited is anything but natural. The tale is set in the early 1860s, and central to it is the impact of advancements in science and natural history.