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Changing Bodies

Changing Bodies

Being and Becoming an Animal in Semonides, Ovid, and H. P. Lovecraft

Chapter:
(p.109) Chapter Four Changing Bodies
Source:
The Animal Part
Author(s):
Mark Payne
Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226650852.003.0005

This chapter explores a set of poems in which the difference missed in the social group is found to be present in the individual body. It includes narratives of metamorphosis, in which a human body is transformed into that of another animal by some form of external agency, as well as some less-familiar poems in which an animal inhabits a human body, and what is most characteristically human is found in the body of an animal. These poems enact the possibility that human beings' experiences of the life forms they encounter in their everyday interactions—their own bodies included—are in some sense flawed, partial, or necessarily incomplete, and so subject to punitive correction. The chapter concludes with a discussion of the relationship between misrecognition and the desire for otherness in narratives of evolutionary theory.

Keywords:   social group, misrecognition, evolutionary theory, metamorphosis, human body

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