9781441183194

The New Human in Literature Posthuman Visions of Changes in Body, Mind and Society after 1900

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  • ISBN13:

    9781441183194

  • ISBN10:

    1441183191

  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2013-11-28
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury Academic
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Summary

Twentieth-century literature changed understandings of what it meant to be human. Mads Rosendahl Thomsen, in this historical overview, presents a record of literature's changing ideas of mankind, questioning the degree to which literature records and creates visions of the new human.

Grounded in the theory of Niklas Luhmann and drawing on canonical works, Thomsen uses literary changes in the mind, body and society to define the new human. He begins with the modernist minds of Virginia Woolf, Williams Carlos Williams and Louis-Ferdinand Celine's, discusses the society-changing concepts envisioned by Chinua Achebe, Mo Yan and Orhan Pamuk. He concludes with science fiction, discussing Don DeLillo and Michel Houellebecq's ideas of revolutionizing man through biotechnology.

This is a study about imagination, aesthetics and ethics that demonstrates literature's capacity to not only imagine the future but portray the conflicting desires between individual and various collectives better than any other media. A study that heightens reflections on human evolution and posthumanism.

Author Biography

Mads Rosendahl Thomsen is Associate Professor in Comparative Literature at Aarhus University, Denmark. He is the author of Mapping World Literature: International Canonization and Transnational Literature (2008), The New Human in Literature: Posthuman Visions of Changes in Body, Mind and Society (2013), and the editor of several volumes, including World Literature: A Reader (2012) and The Posthuman Condition: Ethics, Aesthetics and Politics of Biotechnological Challenges (2012). He is a member of the Academia Europaea and an advisory board member of the Institute for World Literature.

Table of Contents

Introduction
The Triune Human
1. A systemtic view of the human
2. An emergent cultural history of the 20th century
3. History, technique, imagination
4. The new human and the medium of literature
Self-Modernization
5. Virginia Woolf
6. William Carlos Williams
7. Louis-Ferdinand Céline
The Grand Projects
8. Chinua Achebe
9. Mo Yan
10. Orhan Pamuk
The Final Frontier
11. Literature as lab
12. Don DeLillo
13. Michel Houellebecq
Conclusion
Acknowledgements
Notes
Bibliography
Index

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