Novel Creatures takes a close look at the expanding interest in animals in modern times and argues that the novels of this period reveal a dramatic shift in conceptions of "creatureliness." Scholars have turned to the term "creaturely" recently to describe shared aspects of human and animal experience, thus moving beyond work that primarily attends to distinctions between the human and the animal. Carrying forward this recent scholarship, Novel Creatures argues that creatureliness has been an intensely millennial preoccupation, but in two contrasting forms—one leading up to the turn of the millennium, and the other appearing after the tragic events of 9/11.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Shared Catastrophe and the Call of the Creaturely
1 Trials by Water: Aquatic Landscapes, Questionable Sacrifices in Yann Martel and Linda Hogan
2 Ringing in Animals and Eras: At the Circus with Sara Gruen and Angela Carter
3 From Farm to Fable: Harvesting Humans in J. M. Coetzee, Kazuo Ishiguro, and Michel Faber
4 Dwelling in the Future: Human-Animal Apocalypses in Indra Sinha and Barbara Gowdy
Coda: Tania James’s Millennial Elephant
Hilary Thompson is Assistant Professor of English at Bowdoin College, USA. She teaches and publishes on contemporary literature, particularly on questions of the animal and globalization. Her work appears most recently in the volumes The City Since 9/11: Literature, Film, Television and Creatural Fictions: Human-Animal Relationships in Twentieth- and Twenty-First-Century Literature.
Novel Creatures is at once a course in applied socio-political philosophy and a novel in itself. Through the course of its four chapters, I felt as if I had read the ten novels explored and met each cast of characters. Through the lenses of Agamben, Benjamin, Kafka, I achieved an embodied sense of knowing what a post-historical state of human/animal hybridity may achieve.-- Dawnja Burris, Assistant Professor of Media Studies, The New School