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Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature

Derrida and Textual Animality

For a Zoogrammatology of Literature

Authors: Piskorski, Rodolfo

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  • Connects Derrida’s early work to animal studies
  • Demonstrates the usefulness of a deconstructive approach, resisting a materialist approach
  • Appeals to scholars interested in human-animal relationships as well as literary theory
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  • ISBN 978-3-030-51732-8
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About this book

Derrida and Textual Animality: For a Zoogrammatology of Literature analyses what has come to be known, in the Humanities, as ‘the question of the animal’, in relation to literary texts. Rodolfo Piskorski intervenes in the current debate regarding the non-human and its representation in literature, resisting popular materialist methodological approaches in the field by revisiting and revitalising the post-structuralist thought of Derrida and the ‘linguistic turn’. The book focuses on Derrida’s early work in order to frame deconstructive approaches to literature as necessary for a theory and practice of literary criticism that addresses the question of the animal, arguing that texts are like animals, and animals are like texts. While Derrida’s late writings have been embraced by animal studies scholars due to its overt focus on animality, ethics, and the non-human, Piskorski demonstrates the additional value of these early Derridean texts for the field of literary animal studies by proposing detailed zoogrammatological readings of texts by Freud, Clarice Lispector, Ted Hughes, and Darren Aronofsky, while in dialogue with thinkers such as Butler, Kristeva, Genette, Deleuze and Guattari, and Attridge.


About the authors

Rodolfo Piskorski is University Teacher in English Literature and Portuguese Tutor at Cardiff University, UK, from which he has a PhD in Critical and Cultural Theory.

 

Reviews

“Piskorski has written a well-researched and welcome rejoinder to an influential strain of posthumanism and animal studies that invokes the embodiment of animals as a counter to the so-called ‘linguistic turn.’ Returning to Derrida’s earlier work, he belies the equation of this turn with idealism. In doing so, he demonstrates how a number of scholars have too hastily embraced a ‘hollow materialism’ that does not come to terms with corporeal and linguistic enmeshment.” (Christopher Peterson, Associate Professor of English at Western Sydney University, Australia, and author of Monkey Trouble: The Scandal of Posthumanism (2017))

 

“Taking as starting points Derrida's notion of arche-writing and his complication of the materiality/ideality dichotomy, Derrida and Textual Animality: For a Zoogrammatology of Literature proposes to uncover a repressed ‘arche-animality’ beyond the ‘vulgar’ animal, through which to approach animals as objects of study or of representation in literature, as well as foreground animal materiality in textual inscription. This animal condition of a more primordial writing, or ‘zoogrammatology’, relies on a new understanding of ‘animal embodiment’ as rooted in linguistic matter, which allows Piskorski to bring an ingenious blend of formalist (form as the body of the text) and materialist poetics to bear on his rereadings of texts across different genres (Sigmund Freud’s Totem and Taboo, Clarice Lispector’s The Apple in the Dark, Ted Hughes’s ‘The Thought-Fox’) but also of a film (Darren Aronofsky’s Black Swan). With its novel readings underpinned by the conceptual paleonym of ‘arche-animality’, Derrida and Textual Animality: For a Zoogrammatology of Literature is a groundbreaking contribution not only to (Derridean) Literary Animal Studies but also to the kind of Critical Posthumanism that is still willing to engage with deconstruction’s vital insights into the trace and into humans’ relationship to ‘the animal’.” (Laurent Milesi, Tenured Professor of English at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, China, and editor of James Joyce and the Difference of Language (2003))

Derrida and Textual Animality makes a brilliant case for the importance of deconstruction as an ally in rethinking literary animal studies. The book stands as proof that the field has come of age, and I recommend it to everyone interested in theoretically rigorous explorations of animality.” (Roman Bartosch, Associate Professor of English, University of Cologne, Germany, and co-editor of Beyond the Human-Animal Divide: Creaturely Lives in Literature and Culture (Palgrave Macmillan 2017))

Derrida and Textual Animality is a rare beast: a contribution to literary animal studies that is equally invested in the question of the literary as it is in the question of the animal. Recuperating the ‘linguistic turn’ for the ‘animal turn’, Piskorski shows how writing is always already co-implicated with animality. This is a welcome and productive reminder that literary animal studies must come to terms with Derrida’s infamous dictum that ‘there is no outside-text’.” (Kári Driscoll, Assistant Professor of Comparative Literature, Utrecht University, The Netherlands)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Table of contents (7 chapters)

Buy this book

eBook $89.00
price for USA
  • ISBN 978-3-030-51732-8
  • Digitally watermarked, DRM-free
  • Included format: PDF, EPUB
  • ebooks can be used on all reading devices
  • Immediate eBook download after purchase
Hardcover $119.99
price for USA

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Bibliographic Information

Bibliographic Information
Book Title
Derrida and Textual Animality
Book Subtitle
For a Zoogrammatology of Literature
Authors
Series Title
Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature
Copyright
2020
Publisher
Palgrave Macmillan
Copyright Holder
The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG
eBook ISBN
978-3-030-51732-8
DOI
10.1007/978-3-030-51732-8
Hardcover ISBN
978-3-030-51731-1
Series ISSN
2634-6338
Edition Number
1
Number of Pages
XIII, 272
Number of Illustrations
8 b/w illustrations, 5 illustrations in colour
Topics