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The Human Body in Contemporary Literatures in English

Cultural and Political Implications


Sabine Coelsch-Foisner and Marta Fernández Morales

The human body is a recurrent theme in contemporary literatures in English. The aim of this collection of essays is to explore its multiple representations and functions within a wide range of texts drawn together from various Anglophone cultures. For thematic coherence, this volume is divided into four parts: Diseased Bodies, Invented Bodies, Gendered and Transgender Bodies, and Fragmented and Mutilated Bodies. By adopting multi-disciplinary perspectives, each group of essays illustrates the different ways in which these become multiply signifying sites of cultural and political representation, whether the mode is realistic or daringly speculative and fantastic, as in the case of genetically designed bodies, monstrous and machine bodies. This book contributes to understanding the body as a culture-specific construct.
Contents: Sabine Coelsch-Foisner/Marta Fernández Morales: Introduction: The Human Body in Contemporary Literatures in English – Milada Franková: An Icon and a Burden: The Postmodern Obsession with the Body in British Fiction – Ellen Grünkemeier: «I am not dying of AIDS. I am living with AIDS.» Representations of the Body and HIV/AIDS in South African Literature – Ilana Shiloh: The Body as Obsession: Starving, Writing and the Sign of Endless Deferral – Alejandra Moreno Álvarez: The Other Voice of the Anorectics: Examples from Contemporary British Fiction – Sarah Herbe: The Genetic Perspective of the Human Body in British Science Fiction Literature – Arnold Leitner: Designing Geeks: Liberal Eugenics and Life Plans – Pierpaolo Martino: The Body and the Machine: Hari Kunzru’s «Bodywork» – Paloma Fresno-Calleja: «Creatures of Water»: Dis/embodying Racialised and Gendered Identities in Hiromi Goto’s The Kappa Child – Julia Round: Mutilation and Monsters: Transcending the Human in Garth Ennis/Steve Dillon’s Preacher – Anna Kérchy: Bodies That Do Not Fit: Sexual Metamorphoses, Re-embodied Identities and Cultural Crisis in Contemporary Transgender Memoirs – Laura Monrós Gaspar: Spreaking Bodies: The Myth of Echo in Contemporary Literature – Maria Sofia Pimentel Biscaia: «I am just myself - myself separately»: the Gogolian Construction of Masculinity in Hanif Kureishi’s «The Penis» and Katherine Vaz’s «The Journey of the Eyeball» – Andreea Şerban: Eye-in’ the Body: Margaret Atwood’s Cat’s Eye and The Handmaid’s Tale, and Sarah Hall’s The Electric Michelangelo.