1st Edition

Embodied VulnerAbilities in Literature and Film

    Embodied VulnerAbilities in Literature and Film includes a collection of essays exploring the ways in which recent literary and filmic representations of vulnerability depict embodied forms of vulnerability across languages, media, genres, countries, and traditions in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. The volume gathers 12 chapters penned by scholars from Japan, the USA, Canada, and Spain which look into the representation of vulnerability in human bodies and subjectivities. Not only is the array of genres covered in this volume significant— from narrative, drama, poetry, (auto)documentary, or film— in fiction and nonfiction, but also the varied cultural and linguistic coordinates of the literary and filmic texts scrutinized—from the USA, Canada, Spain, France, the Middle East, to Japan. Readers who decide to open the cover of this volume will benefit from becoming familiar with a relatively old topic— that of vulnerability— from a new perspective, so that they can consider the great potential of this critical concept anew.



    List of Contributors

    Preface: Framing Vulnerable Embodiments as Precarity’s Product

    David T. Mitchell

    Introduction: An Ecology of Embodied VulnerAbilityLiterary and Filmic Representations across the Globe
    Cristina M. Gámez-Fernández and Miriam Fernández-Santiago

    Chapter 1

    Vulnerable Masculinity: Emotional Transcendence and the Re-Framing of the Bushidô in Takarazuka Revue’s Performance Strategy

    Maria Grajdian

    Chapter 2

    Norma Desmond and Fedora Performing Vulnerability: Masking Age, Gendering Bodies, Transforming Selves

    Marta Miquel-Baldellou

    Chapter 3

    Vulnerable Motherhood: The Precarious Mother in Unlikely Angel (2005) and Captive (2015)

    Miriam Borham-Puyal

    Chapter 4

    Vulnerable Children: Collective Resistance in Songs My Brothers Taught Me (2015)

    Andrés Buesa

    Chapter 5

    Vulnerability on Contemporary Stage: Embodying Gendered Precarity in Gary Owen’s Iphigenia in Splott (2015) and In the Pipeline (2010)

    Susana Nicolás Román

    Chapter 6

    Poetics of Vulnerability: Stéphane Bouquet and Marie-Claire Bancquart Writing as Exploration of the Limits of Collective and Singular Bodies

    Nicholas Hauck

    Chapter 7

    Vulnerable Encounters: Family Wounds, Illness, and Pain in Yaa Gyasi’s Transcendent Kingdom (2020)

    Paula Barba Guerrero

    Chapter 8

    Vulnerability through the Invulnerable Transhuman Lens: Ethics and Disruption of Emotional Connections and Mental Affections in Maniac (2018)

    Ana Chapman

    Chapter 9

    In Praise of Small Things: Vulnerable (Yet Resilient) Bodies in Madeline Bassnett’s Under the Gamma Camera (2019)

    Leonor María Martínez Serrano

    Chapter 10

    Recognizing Vulnerabilities in Rural Spain: Political and Literary Forms of Resistance

    McKew Devitt

    Chapter 11

    Vulnerability, (In)Hospitable Politics, and Ethical Encounters in The Visitor (2007)

    Luisa María González Rodríguez

    Chapter 12

    Recording One’s Vulnerability: Refugees’ Experiences in the Auto-Documentaries #MyEscape (2016), Chauka Please Tells Us the Time (2017), and Midnight Traveler (2019)

    Beatriz Pérez Zapata and Víctor Navarro-Remesal



    Cristina M. Gámez-Fernández is Senior Lecturer of English in the Department of English and German at the University of Córdoba (Spain) and a founding member of the Challenging Precarity network. She has recently co-edited Representing Vulnerabilities in Contemporary Literature (Routledge, 2023).

    Miriam Fernández-Santiago is Senior Lecturer of English and Head of the English Department at the University of Granada (Spain), where she teaches courses on Literatures and Cultures in English at graduate and undergraduate levels. Her current research interests focus on contemporary literature in English, critical posthumanism, vulnerability, and disability studies.

    Embodied VulnerAbilities in Literature and Film is a mind-expanding voyage into vulnerability, the many-sided keyword of our times.

    -Dr Elisabetta Marino, Associate Professor of English Literature, University of Rome, Italy

    Embodied VulnerAbilities in Literature and Film is a highly significant collection of essays that reassess conceptualizations of vulnerability, linking it with material aspects of the body and addressing the challenges that representing vulnerabilities posit for artists, audiences and readers.

    Dr. Barbara Schmidt-Haberkamp, Full Professor of English, University of Bonn, Germany

    This exciting collection contributes vitally to the emerging field of vulnerability studies. By examining diverse representations in literature and visual culture, it argues that ambiguous experiences of embodied vulnerability can be resignified to enable agency. Culturally interventionist, these essays advocate a vulnerability ethics involving care and relationality and so challenge entrenched conditions of precarity.

    Janet M. Wilson, Emerita Professor of English and Postcolonial Studies, University of Northampton UK