Influx and Efflux

Writing Up with Walt Whitman

Influx and Efflux

Book Pages: 224 Illustrations: 33 color illustrations Published: May 2020

Author: Jane Bennett

Literature and Literary Studies > Literary Theory, Politics > Political Theory, Theory and Philosophy

In Influx & Efflux Jane Bennett pursues a theme opened but not pursued in her influential book Vibrant Matter. She explores the question of human agency amidst a world teeming with powerful nonhuman influences. “Influx and efflux”—borrowed from Whitman's “Song of Myself”—refers to everyday movements whereby outside influences enter bodies, infuse and confuse their organization, and then exit, themselves having been transformed into something new. How to describe the effort or human agency involved in that process? What kinds of “I” and “we” can live well and act effectively in a world of so many other lively materialities? Drawing upon Whitman, Thoreau, Caillois, Whitehead, and other poetic writers, Bennett links a non-anthropocentric model of self to a democratic pluralism and also to a syntax and style of writing appropriate to the entangled world in which we live. She wades into those uncanny processes by which we “write up” influences that have pervaded us, both drawing sustenance from them and altering them as we do so. This is a engaging book in which the writer enacts the very processes she delineates.


“Jane Bennett has always been interested in reading the ecological from a political point of view and articulating an ecological politics. But this book will be a new moment in how we think about ecology and democracy. For it explains to us not only the possibility of ‘ecological democracy’ but also why a truly democratic personality must be ecological: open and attentive, susceptible to otherness, and welcoming influences. Influx and Efflux is a wonderful achievement.” — Branka Arsic, author of Bird Relics: Grief and Vitalism in Thoreau


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Price: $25.95

Open Access

Fall 2019 Sale
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Jane Bennett is Andrew W. Mellon Professor of the Humanities at Johns Hopkins University and author of, most recently, Vibrant Matter: A Political Ecology of Things, also published by Duke University Press.

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Table of Contents Forthcoming
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Paper ISBN: 978-1-4780-0830-9 / Cloth ISBN: 978-1-4780-0779-1
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