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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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Domesticating Animals: Description of a Certain Disturbance

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Szymon Wróbel

Abstract

In my text, I ask—investigating mainly the works of Freud, Lévi-Strauss, and Kafka—if humanity empowered by kinship or even contamination with other species would be a sick society, frail and ill-selected, or whether it would rather be a society which is active and audacious, looking for adventure, devoid of the traces of resentment towards other living beings, and as a result the only one which is acceptable in the contemporary world? I analyze the mono-individual species (a term formulated by Lévi-Strauss) on the basis of examples which are clinical (Freud’s Hans, Sándor Ferenczi’s little Arpad), literary (Kafka’s Gregor Samsa), and also those borrowed from mass culture (Spider-Man and Batman) in order to illustrate the course of the process of domestication of the animal as well as the dedomestication of the human and their consequences for delineating an uncertain boundary between a human and an animal in the contemporary world.

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