Unsettling Arts of Extinction in Henrietta Rose-Innes's Green Lion


  • Laura White Middle Tennessee State University


Rose-Innes, Green Lion, taxidermy, extinction, world-ecology


Henrietta Rose-Innes’s novel Green Lion illuminates ways that human constructed images impact the material lives and deaths of animals, particularly excavating settler-capitalist legacies of preservation. This essay explores how Rose-Innes turns to taxidermy as inspiration for both the form and content of her novel, arguing that she crafts a work that resonates with new taxidermy in visual arts as she deploys narrative strategies that expose the consequences of images that neglect nonhuman life worlds and conceal death to offer consoling illusions of perpetual presence. Rather than recovering stories of lost animal worlds, Green Lion repositions animal images within histories of multispecies entanglements, exemplifying how literary texts can reframe animal lives and deaths to facilitate confrontations with uncomfortable feelings of grief and guilt and reckon with legacies of settler-capitalism that have been obscured by images of timeless nature.


Author Biography

Laura White, Middle Tennessee State University

Laura A. White is Professor in the Department of English at Middle Tennessee State University, where she is also affiliate faculty with the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and the Africana Studies Program. Her research investigates continuing impacts of imperialism on material environments and environmentalist epistemologies. Her monograph Ecospectrality: Haunting and Environmental Justice in Contemporary Anglophone Novels was published as part of Bloomsbury’s Environmental Cultures series in May 2020, and she is currently at work on a project that explores literary animals in the affective economies of extinction. 





Decolonial Ecocriticism Cluster