Restoring Touch in Ecofeminist Speculative Fiction


  • Sarah Bouttier École Polytechnique


Focusing on The Fifth Sacred Thing by Starhawk and The Stone Gods by Jeanette Winterson, this article intends to map out the ways in which touch is restored as a reliable yet complex epistemological path in ecofeminist speculative fiction. While touch is a sense that boasts immediacy between the touching subject and the touched object, The Fifth Sacred Thing portrays it as a mode of knowing that requires effort and proceeds gradually, following its own regime and geography and literalizing the spacing at the heart of touch theorized by Jacques Derrida and Jean-Luc Nancy. While it produces instantaneous effects, it also induces stases which allow both texts to frequently feature touch as a place, or the touched thing as a pattern, which gives literary presence to the neuroscientific hypothesis of a tactile field. The interpenetration in which touch often results in the two novels also sets touch as an exemplary sense to meet the universe halfway.