Toxic Crops and Eco-Zombies: An Ecocritical Reading of Corpos secos (2020)

  • Leila Lehnen Brown University
Keywords: Capitalocene, environmental crisis, Brazilian literature, agribusiness


This essay explores how the Brazilian novel Corpos secos (Geisler et al. 2020) employs the discourse of toxicity, condensed in the metaphor of zombification, to imagine what Jason Moore has called the Capitalocene. My analysis of Corpos secos shows how, in its current iteration, capitalism as an ecological regime is pushing against the limits of environmental sustainability, against the limits of what Moore calls Nature, as it seeks continuous growth. In the novel, the coproduction of nature, impelled by greed (a recurring allegory of capitalism), goes terribly wrong, generating toxic biomes and, ultimately, destroying humanity or humanness as zombies take over Brazil. Beyond ecological crisis, in Corpos secos, zombification also becomes a metaphor for the necropolitical dimension inherent in late capitalism.