Posthuman Ecologies of the Corpse. [Book Review]

Women, Gender and Research 28:124-126 (2019)
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Erin E. Edwards’ "The Modernist Corpse: Posthumanism and the Posthumous" offers a unique study of the critical and creative potential of the corpse in the context of (primarily) American modernist literature and other media. Dead bodies, oftentimes “radically dehumanized” (p. 1) and depicted en masse in direct relation to atrocities of colonialism, slavery and World War I, populate modernist literature and art. While many literary theorist whose work focuses on American modernism (as Edwards herself notes), looks at death and corpses through the critical lens of studies on mourning, loss and trauma (e.g. Moglen 2007) and are clearly anchored in the traditional idea of the human subject, Edwards grounds her own “necrocentric perspective” (p. 14) in (feminist) posthumanist theorising. For her, “the corpse in American modernism is involved in a trenchant re-examination of who – and what – counts as human and as ‘alive’ in the early twentieth century” (p. 2)

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Marietta Radomska
Linkoping University


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