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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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Talking Animalish in Science-fiction Creations. Some Thoughts on Literary Zoomorphism

Extract



Przemysław Kordos

Abstract

I would like to point out an interesting technique in picturing the aliens in SF books and TV series. In order to differentiate the humans and the extraterrestrials, writers give the latter animal traits: they “talk animalish,” borrowing from the animal world elements that would serve as a way of describing what is not human. The first part of the below text presents some of the most popular animal aliens in the recent SF history. The second is concentrated on writings of China Miéville and Stanisław Lem. Miéville’s world, Bas-Lag, abounds in curious animal sentient races. The writer has defined in detail one more race, Ariekei, for the needs of his latest book. Lem, on the other hand, is a great and humorous theoretician of how they aliens would look like and what the ways we think about them are.

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