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The Animals in Us – We in Animals

Szymon Wrobel

In art and literature, animals appear not only as an allegoric representation but as a reference which troubles the border between humanity and animality. The aim of this book is to challenge traditional ways of confronting animality with humanity and to consider how the Darwinian turn has modified this relationship in postmodern narratives. The subject of animality in culture, ethics, philosophy, art and literature is explored and reevaluated, and a host of questions regarding the conditions of co-existence of humans and animals is asked: Should discourse ethics now include entities that initially seemed mute and were excluded from discussions? Does the modern animal rights movement need a theology, and vice versa, is there a theology that needs animals? Are animals in literature just metaphors of human characters, or do they reveal something more profound, a direction of human desires, or a fantasy of transgressing humanity? This book provides answers and thus gives a new impetus to a so far largely overlooked field.
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The Cloth of Man. Contribution to a Study on The Human-Animal Pathos

Extract



Paweł Mościcki

Abstract

The main question of my paper – inspired by Aby Warburg’s notion of Pathosformeln and his reading of Darwin’s The Expression of the Emotions in Man and Animal – would be how animals can represent pathos of human experience in a way, which humanistic, purely anthropocentric forms of expression can no longer account for. In order to present my argument I would like to analyse three examples from literature. Rainer Maria Rilke’s Malte, Thomas Bernhard’s Distortion and W. G. Sebald’s Austerlitz. In all three cases animal are necessary to express human pathos but the intensity of this expression seems to go far beyond the limits of the traditional human-animal division.

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