Elemental is concerned with our experience of the elements in an era of climate change. The four elements of classical thought (earth, fire, water, air) align with what we now call four states of matter and hence to what is termed the “material turn” in contemporary debates in the humanities. This material turn seeks new ways of understanding the physical world and is motivated by the urgency of shared vulnerability on the planet.
In Australia this experience of extreme weather, including floods and fires, embroils the entire ecosystem including literary ecologies. This issue considers a range of Australian writers who address the modern experience of the elements in their volatility and magnificence, raising questions, recording and responding to the matter as the matter at hand.