Impersonal Love: Nightwood’s Poetics of Mournful Entanglement

  • Peter J. Meedom
Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)

Abstract

Although Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood has been lauded for containing one of the most complex portraits of animality, this chapter shifts the discussion toward the relationship of personal and impersonal life. With painful consequences for all, the character of O’Connor mournfully tries to recognize how personal lives enfold in the impersonal life of the earth, calling for impersonal love attuned to loss. Challenging both posthumanists such as Rosi Braidotti, who considers death from the point of view of impersonal life, and Jacques Derrida and Cary Wolfe, who by valuing vulnerability and finitude across species lines accord the discrete being primacy, Nightwood’s poetics of entanglement, Meedom argues, promotes a traumatic expansion of personal life into the impersonal.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peter J. Meedom
    • 1
  1. 1.University of OsloOsloNorway

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