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.
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
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
In recent years, many disciplines within the humanities have become increasingly concerned with non-human actors and entities. The environment, animals, machines, objects, weather, and other non-human beings and things have taken center stage to challenge assumptions about what we have traditionally called "the human." Informed by theoretical approaches like posthumanism, the new materialisms, (including Actor Network Theory, Object-Oriented Ontology, and similar approaches) ecocriticism, and critical animal studies, such scholarship has until now had no separate and identifiable collective home at an academic press. This series will provide that home, publishing work that shares a concern with the non-human in literary and cultural studies. The series invites single-authored books and essay collections that focus primarily on literary texts, but from an interdisciplinary, theoretically-informed perspective; it will include work that crosses geographical and period boundaries. Titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.