Narrative Bodies and Nonhuman Transformations


In this essay, we identify and discuss three motifs that enable literary narrative to perform a shift from a phenomenological, common-sense understanding of the body to the far more challenging nonhuman corporeality articulated by poststructuralist theorists in dialogue with Deleuze and Guattari’s work. We argue that such reconceptualization of the body via narrative form aligns closely with contemporary debates surrounding the Anthropocene and material, as well as nonhuman, turns. We illustrate the three motifs—which we label metamorphosis, blending, and unraveling—through the analysis of passages from contemporary novels that engage, in deeply embodied terms, with environmental issues.

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