This essay explores how and why the “old” medium of paper has come to function as the matter of a “new” posthuman subjectivity in contemporary fiction (since 2005). Paper, paper-based writing, and the book have long been involved in the cultural construction of “humanness” and human consciousness. Some critics see the ascendancy of electronic media as the inevitable downfall of this culture of “humanness,” but experimental trends in recent fiction precisely point to an implication of paper matter in the construction of a subjectivity beyond the space of interiority and authenticity associated with a “human” selfhood. Selfhood, like text, here becomes assemblage: an assemblage of borrowed words. Focusing on Steven Hall's The Raw Shark Texts and Graham Rawle's Woman's World, I show how writing, text, and self are inextricably intertwined, and how this reinvigorates the contemporaneousness of the novel in the digital age.
Research Article|June 01 2011
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Kiene Brillenburg Wurth; Posthumanities and Post-Textualities: Reading The Raw Shark Texts and Woman's World. Comparative Literature 1 June 2011; 63 (2): 119–141. doi: https://doi.org/10.1215/00104124-1265447
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