Research Programs: Fellowships

Period of Performance

1/1/2019 - 12/31/2019

Funding Totals

$60,000.00 (approved)
$60,000.00 (awarded)

Mining, Ecology, and Literature, 1830-1930

FAIN: FEL-262276-19

Elizabeth Carolyn Miller, PhD
Regents of the University of California, Davis (Davis, CA 95618-6153)

Research and writing leading to a book-length study of mining and extraction in 19th- and early-20th-century literature.

“Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion, 1830-1930” is a study of mining, ecology, and literature in the first century of the industrial era. It explores the magnitude of industrial mining’s environmental impact – an impact that extends, I argue, deeply into literary form. An extraction boom followed from the nineteenth-century rise of the steam engine and discovery of new forms of explosives, and this boom left its mark on the literary, textual, and aesthetic forms of Britain and its Empire. During this period of rapid environmental change, key literary genres and modes adapted to convey in a new way how extraction is bound up in industrial ecologies and in the conditions of existence that govern modern life. My chapters describe how the following genres adapted to convey such new conditions: the provincial realist novel, the imperial adventure narrative, speculative fiction, poetry, and sociological prose.

Media Coverage

Review (Review)
Author(s): Benjamin Morgan
Publication: Critical Inquiry
Date: 2/2/2023
Abstract: Review of Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion

Associated Products

Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion (Book)
Title: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion
Author: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller
Abstract: The 1830s to the 1930s saw the rise of large-scale industrial mining in the British imperial world. Elizabeth Carolyn Miller examines how literature of this era reckoned with a new vision of civilization where humans are dependent on finite, nonrenewable stores of earthly resources, and traces how the threatening horizon of resource exhaustion worked its way into narrative form. Britain was the first nation to transition to industry based on fossil fuels, which put its novelists and other writers in the remarkable position of mediating the emergence of extraction-based life. Miller looks at works like Hard Times, The Mill on the Floss, and Sons and Lovers, showing how the provincial realist novel’s longstanding reliance on marriage and inheritance plots transforms against the backdrop of exhaustion to withhold the promise of reproductive futurity. She explores how adventure stories like Treasure Island and Heart of Darkness reorient fictional space toward the resource frontier. And she shows how utopian and fantasy works like “Sultana’s Dream,” The Time Machine, and The Hobbit offer imaginative ways of envisioning energy beyond extractivism. This illuminating book reveals how an era marked by violent mineral resource rushes gave rise to literary forms and genres that extend extractivism as a mode of environmental understanding.
Year: 2021
Primary URL:
Primary URL Description: press website
Secondary URL: http://
Secondary URL Description: world cat listing
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Type: Single author monograph
ISBN: 9780691205533
Copy sent to NEH?: No


Stansky Book Prize
Date: 11/13/2022
Organization: North American Conference on British Studies
Abstract: The Stansky Book Prize of $500 is awarded annually by the North American Conference on British Studies for the best book published anywhere by a North American scholar on any aspect of British studies since 1800.

Honorable Mention, Ecocritical Book Prize
Date: 8/19/2022
Organization: Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment
Abstract: Judges commented: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion features excellent close readings of nineteenth- and twentieth-century novels about resource mining, broadly imagined. It establishes new ways of reading canonical texts and also introduces non-canonical texts. The research and writing are lovely.

Choice Outstanding Academic Title
Date: 11/30/2022
Organization: Choice
Abstract: In December of each year Choice publishes its list of Outstanding Academic Titles. This prestigious list reflects the best in scholarly titles, both print and digital, reviewed by Choice during the previous year and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. The list is quite selective, containing approximately ten percent of some 5,000 works reviewed annually in Choice. In naming a work an Outstanding Academic Title, the editors apply several criteria: -overall excellence in presentation and scholarship -importance relative to other literature in the field -distinction as a first treatment of a given subject in book or electronic form -originality or uniqueness of treatment -value to undergraduate students -importance in building undergraduate library collections

The Literature of Extraction (Blog Post)
Title: The Literature of Extraction
Author: Elizabeth Carolyn Miller
Abstract: Description of Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion for the "Features" section of the website for the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment.
Date: 12/6/21
Blog Title: The Literature of Extraciton

Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion (Radio/Audio Broadcast or Recording)
Title: Extraction Ecologies and the Literature of the Long Exhaustion
Director: Stentor Danielson
Producer: New Books Network
Abstract: podcast interview about Extraction Ecologies
Date: 10-15-21
Primary URL:
Access Model: open access
Format: Digital File