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Writing Nature Between Orphism and Prometheanism in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian

Judge Holden, to cite W. Oliver Baker, easily ranks amongst the ‘the most engrossing and violent characters of American literature’.[1] A central character in Cormac McCarthy’s 1985 novel Blood Meridian, Or the Evening Redness in the West, Judge Holden accompanies the Glanton gang—a group of genocidal scalp hunters—through the American West, ravaging and de-peopling the […]

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Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga’s work demonstrates an intriguing mix of elements from within posthumanism, as her work seems to destabilise a number of humanist, binary categories including human and machine, human and animal, subject and object, self and other and male and female. In some ways, Gaga embodies what we might consider the figures of the posthuman […]

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Derrida and Posthumanism (II): The Animality of the Trace

This post is part two of a three part series. Read part one here. Jacques Derrida’s marathon lecture on ‘L’animal que donc je suis’ for the décade (ten-day conference) on ‘L’animal autobiographique’ at Cerisy-la-Salle in July 1997[1] can be seen retrospectively to have marked the ‘official’ entry of his work into posthumanism, within which it […]

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Derrida and Posthumanism (I): From Sign to Trace

If one of the aims of posthumanism is to re-elaborate critically, without falling back on exceptionalist constructions, the nature of what humanity means, from its problematic inception to its uncertain, constant becoming, then Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction of what constitutes (the inscription of) a trace is highly relevant. From some of his earliest texts the French […]

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Golding’s Lord of the Flies, The Inheritors, and Human and Nonhuman Interconnectedness

William Golding’s novels are famous for their bleak depiction of the human condition in which violence, dark urges, and primordial egotism prevail. The author, however, made it clear in his Nobel Lecture that he is ‘a universal pessimist but a cosmic optimist’,[1] and while his opinion of the human as such might not be a […]

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Hamlet, Shakespeare and Posthumanism

‘… they imitated humanity so abhominably.’ (III.2.34)[1]   The affinity between Shakespeare’s Hamlet and some of the existential questions raised by contemporary posthumanism, despite the four centuries that lie between them, is striking. From the beginning of the play, the question of identity, and of the identity of the human more specifically, is the main […]

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Affect: Psychopower and Eventology

‘Psychopower’ and ‘Eventology’ are two reworked extracts from the succinct genealogy of affect that Bernd Bösel provides in ‘Affect Disposition(ing)’. The article explains how affect is conceptualised by early Western (i.e. Greek) thought as the ‘by-product of being possessed by a god, a demon or another nonhuman’. This ‘demonological’ paradigm of affect involves certain practices of dealing with nonhuman […]

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