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Animal Moments in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin and Saul Bellow’s Herzog

Animal Moments in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin and Saul Bellow’s Herzog YULIA PUSHKAREVSKAYA NAUGHTON AND GERALD DAVID NAUGHTON Posthumanism is often associated with more recent postmodern novelists who "problemat[ize] the traditional divisions between human and nonhuman" (Giles 2011, 164-65). It is not commonly associated with, for example, the long tradition of liberal humanists, where most critics place Saul Bellow (Smith 2013, 102), and some critics place Vladimir Nabokov (McCarthy 2009, 133)--though he is a writer who resists overt categorization. It is, however, the contention of this paper that both Bellow's and Nabokov's texts exhibit a consciousness about the non-separation of the human species from the animal species--a contention made all the more interesting by the two writers' distinctly different artistic concerns and their long history of mutual, publicly acknowledged antipathy. Both Bellow and Nabokov create striking images of animals in order to, first, problematize the distinction between animals and humans, and second, create distinctly within human narratives. The essay explores such chiefly in Bellow's Herzog and Nabokov's Pnin, using Ralph R. Acampora's model of "corporal compassion," "symphysis" and mutual "bodiment," ecophenomenological insights from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Paul Giles's discussion of posthumanism. By exploring the coming together of animals and humans in these two novels, the essay also troubles the http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png symploke University of Nebraska Press

Animal Moments in Vladimir Nabokov’s Pnin and Saul Bellow’s Herzog

symploke , Volume 23 (1) – Dec 31, 2015

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2008 symploke.
ISSN
1534-0627
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Abstract

YULIA PUSHKAREVSKAYA NAUGHTON AND GERALD DAVID NAUGHTON Posthumanism is often associated with more recent postmodern novelists who "problemat[ize] the traditional divisions between human and nonhuman" (Giles 2011, 164-65). It is not commonly associated with, for example, the long tradition of liberal humanists, where most critics place Saul Bellow (Smith 2013, 102), and some critics place Vladimir Nabokov (McCarthy 2009, 133)--though he is a writer who resists overt categorization. It is, however, the contention of this paper that both Bellow's and Nabokov's texts exhibit a consciousness about the non-separation of the human species from the animal species--a contention made all the more interesting by the two writers' distinctly different artistic concerns and their long history of mutual, publicly acknowledged antipathy. Both Bellow and Nabokov create striking images of animals in order to, first, problematize the distinction between animals and humans, and second, create distinctly within human narratives. The essay explores such chiefly in Bellow's Herzog and Nabokov's Pnin, using Ralph R. Acampora's model of "corporal compassion," "symphysis" and mutual "bodiment," ecophenomenological insights from Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Paul Giles's discussion of posthumanism. By exploring the coming together of animals and humans in these two novels, the essay also troubles the

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symplokeUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Dec 31, 2015

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