Dissolving Boundaries in the Anthropocene

Book review:

Kérchy, Anna, ed. Interspecies Dialogues in Postmillenial Filmic Fantasies, special issue of AMERICANA E-Journal of American Studies in Hungary. 13.2 (2017)

Kérchy, Anna, ed. Posthumanism in Fantastic Fiction. AMERICANA eBooks, 2018. 237 pages. ISBN 978-615-5423-46-8. EPUB. Open Access.

Blending Beauty and the Beast: Metamorphic Body Regimes of a Somatic Society

Book review:

Steinhoff, Heike. Transforming Bodies: Makeovers and Monstrosities in American Culture. Houndmills, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. ix + 267 pages. ISBN 978-1-137-49378-1. Hb. €85.59.

An Encore of the Greatest Show on Earth: Victorian Marvels and Monsters Revamped for the Postmillennial Times

Book review:

Davies, Helen. Neo-Victorian Freakery: The Cultural Afterlife of the Victorian Freak Show. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015. 239 pages. ISBN 978-1-137-40255-4. Hb. $90.

The Fabulous Adventures of Alice with Fashion, Science, and Pinocchio

The three scholarly monographs published between 2017 and 2020 by Laura White, Laura Tosi and Peter Hunt, and Kiera Vaclavik, are recent contributions to Lewis Carroll scholarship. They belong to what Michael Heyman calls “the sense school” of nonsense literary criticism in so far as they attribute a specific agenda, a systematic structure, a decipherable message, and a homogenised reading to the Alice tales (Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, and its sequel, Through the Looking Glass). Each re-explores a well-known children’s classic from fresh new perspectives by relying on interdisciplinary methodologies, mingling the literary historical approach with insights of critical fashion studies, evolutionary biology, and comparative cross-cultural analysis (translation studies), respectively. Like adaptations, these critical theoretical interpretations of the Alice books are in a constant dialogue with one another within a Genettian transtextual network of multimodal narratives.

Chimeric Visions: Posthuman Somaesthetics and Interspecies Communication in Contemporary Humanimal Body Art Performances

Body art performances experiment in provocative, transgressive ways with the human body that becomes, simultaneously, an instrument, a medium, an agent, and an end product of artistic creation. They invite calculated corporeal reactions from audiences in a multitude of affectively, perceptually, and politically engaging ways. A brief overview is given of the evolution of body art from its roots in avant-garde performance arts to current trends of carnal art to shed light on the changing cultural-historical interpretation of human embodiment. It reveals how body art’s growing dissatisfaction with anthropocentrism entails an inevitable move toward humanimal poetics and politics. The shift of focal point from humanoid embodiment to interspecies relationalities and posthuman enworldedness marks a major paradigm shift of body art. Mapping the aesthetic manifestations, ethical stakes, and corporeal experience of this shift—that extends the notion of subjectivity beyond the human species—is the main aim of the essay. (AK)

Reading in the Dark, Sleeping with the Lights On: Uses and Abuses of Horror in Children’s Literature

Book review:

McCort, Jessica R., ed. Reading in the Dark. Horror in Children’s Literature and Culture. Jackson: UP of Mississippi, 2016. pp. 256. ISBN 978-1496806444. Hb. $56.99.