Following Snakes and Moths: Modernist Ethics and Posthumanism

Ryan, Derek (2015) Following Snakes and Moths: Modernist Ethics and Posthumanism. Twentieth-Century Literature, 61 (3). pp. 287-304. ISSN 0041-462X. E-ISSN 2325-8101. (doi:10.1215/0041462X-3153955) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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Official URL
http://dx.doi.org/10.1215/0041462X-3153955

Abstract

This essay argues that a posthumanist ethics is at the heart of modernist aesthetics. Drawing connections between literary ethics and posthumanist theory, it reads D. H. Lawrence’s poem “Snake” and Virginia Woolf ’s essay “The Death of the Moth” as examples of nonanthropocentric ethical encounters between human and animal. In particular, the essay explores how the use of figurative language in these modernist texts opens up the imaginative possibilities of an anthropomorphism that paradoxically unsettles human-centered worldviews and instead seeks to more intimately engage with nonhuman life. In experimenting with a “nonanthropocentric anthropomorphism,” it is claimed that modernist ethics is founded on the attempt to respond to the demands, in both content and form, of “unrecognizable” creatures.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1215/0041462X-3153955
Uncontrolled keywords: D. H. Lawrence, Virginia Woolf, modernism, anthropomorphism, animals
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BJ Ethics
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Derek Ryan
Date Deposited: 09 Dec 2015 20:10 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 16:40 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/52982 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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