This article reads modernist animals against the dominating strategies of fascist racism, examining the hierarchization of bodies along the human/nonhuman divide in Ezra Pound’s Pisan Cantos and Virginia Woolf’s Flush and how the animals in both works challenge the integrity of the human category. Through this analysis, these texts raise urgent biopolitical concerns regarding the regulation of life and the “properly” human, each deploying nonhuman animals in responses (pro and con) to mid-twentieth-century European fascism. Yet the nonhuman exceeds human representation, even as it comes to be constitutive of a humanity predicated on a sovereign distinction from and dominance over those who are dehumanized through mechanisms of race and species. This nonhumanization, I argue, also opens new forms of life, as the contamination of the human by its other that plays out in these authors’ modernist biopolitics reveals sovereign capacities that are distinctly posthuman.

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