Stalking the Subject: Modernism and the Animal

Overview

Human and animal subjectivity converge in a historically unprecedented way within modernism, as evolutionary theory, imperialism, antirationalism, and psychoanalysis all grapple with the place of the human in relation to the animal. Drawing on the thought of Jacques Derrida and Georges Bataille, Carrie Rohman outlines the complex philosophical and ethical stakes involved in theorizing the animal in humanism, including the difficulty in determining an ontological place for the animal, the question of animal ...

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Stalking the Subject: Modernism and the Animal

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Overview

Human and animal subjectivity converge in a historically unprecedented way within modernism, as evolutionary theory, imperialism, antirationalism, and psychoanalysis all grapple with the place of the human in relation to the animal. Drawing on the thought of Jacques Derrida and Georges Bataille, Carrie Rohman outlines the complex philosophical and ethical stakes involved in theorizing the animal in humanism, including the difficulty in determining an ontological place for the animal, the question of animal consciousness and language, and the paradoxical status of the human as both a primate body and a "human" mind abstracting itself from the physical and material world. Rohman then turns to the work of Joseph Conrad, D. H. Lawrence, H. G. Wells, and Djuna Barnes, authors who were deeply invested in the relationship between animality and identity. The Island of Dr. Moreau embodies a Darwinian nightmare of the evolutionary continuum; The Croquet Player thematizes the dialectic between evolutionary theory and psychoanalysis; and Women in Love, St. Mawr, and Nightwood all refuse to project animality onto others, inverting the traditional humanist position by valuing animal consciousness. A novel treatment of the animal in literature, Stalking the Subject provides vital perspective on modernism's most compelling intellectual and philosophical issues.

Columbia University Press

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Editorial Reviews

Journal of Animal Ethics - Steven Shakespeare

It is a clear, demanding, and brilliantly executed piece of work, which ethicists should not dismiss out of any bias against literary readings. One of the book's many strong points is in deepening our grasp of the task to embrace reflection on the ethical subject and the tangled lines that link it to a nonhuman inheritance.

Choice

Accessible to any determined reader due to [Rohman's] engaging, clear writing style and her compelling critical readings of specific modernist texts.

Choice

Accessible to any determined reader due to [Rohman's] engaging, clear writing style and her compelling critical readings of specific modernist texts.

Journal of Animal Ethics
It is a clear, demanding, and brilliantly executed piece of work, which ethicists should not dismiss out of any bias against literary readings. One of the book's many strong points is in deepening our grasp of the task to embrace reflection on the ethical subject and the tangled lines that link it to a nonhuman inheritance.

— Steven Shakespeare

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780231145077
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press
  • Publication date: 10/29/2008
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 208
  • Sales rank: 1,059,317
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Carrie Rohman is assistant professor of English at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.

Columbia University Press

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments1. The Animal Among Others2. Imperialism and Disavowal3. Facing the Animal4. Recuperating the Animal5. Revising the HumanConclusion: Animal Studies, Ethics, and the HumanitiesNotesWorks CitedIndex

Columbia University Press

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