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'Vermin, not animals': hygiene, modernism, and the verminous

Hutchings, Rory Michael (2021) 'Vermin, not animals': hygiene, modernism, and the verminous. In: New Work in Modernist Studies 11, 10 Dec 2021, Online. (Unpublished) (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository.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) (KAR id:92265)

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. (Contact us about this Publication)
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https://bams.ac.uk/2021/09/16/new-work-in-modernis...

Abstract

The turn in modernist studies towards the nonhuman has proved one of the most productive and provocative lines of enquiry in the field today. A cast of recognisable modernist animals has emerged, from Bloom’s cat to the floating menageries of Marc Chagall. In many studies, however, verminous creatures are conspicuously absent. Whilst there are notable examples of modernist vermin, perhaps the most famous being Gregor Samsa of Kafka’s 'The Metamorphosis' (1915), a specific focus on “the verminous” and its meaning in modernist culture is rarely dwelt upon. This is unusual considering the sheer ubiquity of vermin in the period: newspapers abound with advertisements for the latest pest control products and services, poets describe the vicious war waged against lice in the trenches, city-dwellers describe living cheek by jowl with rats, cockroaches, and bedbugs. This paper will situate vermin within modernist culture, exploring the hygienic and social conceptions of vermin in the period and how a discussion of vermin can enrich our understanding of the “modernist animal”.

Item Type: Conference or workshop item (Paper)
Uncontrolled keywords: Modernism, Modernist Literature, Vermin, Animal Studies
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Arts and Humanities > School of English
Depositing User: Rory Hutchings
Date Deposited: 10 Dec 2021 15:36 UTC
Last Modified: 13 Dec 2021 12:14 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/92265 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Hutchings, Rory Michael: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-7547-4137
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