Being Human Now: Fictions and Representations

Today’s world is characterized by a pervasive sense of crisis and uncertainty. This has created an increasingly urgent set of questions about who counts as human today and the nature of meaningful human life. Although the human impact on earth is as visible as ever, we can no longer take the centrality of the human for granted. This tension is at the center of this volume, which engages with ontological theories of posthumanism and new materialism, combining them with poststructuralist theories of power and subjectivity to create a comprehensive matrix for diagnosing the present. Within this framework, the authors discuss American and French novels and French-language plays that offer an insight into today’s diverse challenges to being human. They consider the impact of neoliberalism on shaping human affects and intimacies, as well as literary responses to socio-economic precarity. The current environmental catastrophe is tackled through novels that question the human responsibility in bringing about, for example, the sixth mass extinction of species and the anthropocentricity of literature itself. The art and artificiality of theater are shown to be means that allow us to delve into the extremes of human experience, for example, by revisiting myths that re-interpret desire and question the possibility of a future for human beings.

Sara Bédard-Goulet is ASTRA Professor of Romance Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia, where she works on contemporary French-language narratives and artworks. Her research interests include ecocriticism, reader-response theory and psychoanalysis.

Tanel Lepsoo is Associate Professor of French Literature at the University of Tartu, Estonia. He received an MA degree in Theater Research and Performance Arts from the University of Paris III and his PhD from the University of Tartu. His research is primarily dedicated to the issues of artistic representation, especially the relationship between text and image or the self-representation of the author.

Raili Marling is Professor of English Studies at the University of Tartu, Estonia. Her main areas of research are the politics of affect, and representations of gender and neoliberalism in contemporary literature. She currently leads an Estonian Research Council research project on the representations and representability of crises. Together with Anders Örtenblad and Snježana Vasiljević, she edited the collection Gender Equality in a Global Perspective (2017) and is working on a collection on health biopolitics and literature.

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ISBN: 1-5275-8353-8

ISBN13: 978-1-5275-8353-5

Release Date: 28th July 2022

Pages: 155

Price: £66.99