Never Let Me Go: Empathy and the Ethics of Posthuman Reading

Sloane, Peter (2022) Never Let Me Go: Empathy and the Ethics of Posthuman Reading. In: Kazuo Ishiguro: Twenty-First Century Perspectives. Manchester University Press. ISBN UNSPECIFIED

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Abstract

This chapter examines a range of novels that explore the scientific creation of posthumans, notably Frankenstein (1818), Brave New World (1932), and Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang (1976), to provide a continuum within which to situate a more focused discussion of Ishiguro’s novel, in turn interrogating whether the presence of affective response in the reader is either a sufficient or necessary condition to confer the nebulous status of human onto other entities. Indeed, N. Katherine Hayles has suggested that ‘the age of the human has given way to the posthuman’, that ‘the concept of the human has given way to its evolutionary heir’, while Armstrong, seeing a comparable paradigm shift in literature, proposes that the contemporary novel ‘confront[s] us with forms of human life so innovative as to make it next to impossible for us to recognize ourselves in them’ (2016: 247; 2014: 442). With the aid of Martha Nussbaum’s work in Frontiers of Justice (2006), this essay is also an attempt to think through the literary implications, the ethics of reading in a world in which the human subject is, demonstrably, becoming a more fluid species.

Keywords:Ishiguro, Posthuman, eugenics, cloning, Never Let Me Go
Subjects:R European Languages, Literature and related subjects > R910 Other European Languages
Divisions:College of Arts > School of English & Journalism > School of English & Journalism (Journalism)
ID Code:49498
Deposited On:25 May 2022 09:25

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