"Both Men and Beasts": Rereading Karen Blixen's Anthropomorphisms

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"Both Men and Beasts" : Rereading Karen Blixen's Anthropomorphisms. / Mortensen, Peter.

In: Orbis Litterarum, Vol. 73, No. 6, 2018, p. 506-519.

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Mortensen, Peter. / "Both Men and Beasts" : Rereading Karen Blixen's Anthropomorphisms. In: Orbis Litterarum. 2018 ; Vol. 73, No. 6. pp. 506-519.

Bibtex

@article{e99f70d23d694e9699c9aa23fdf115e2,
title = "{"}Both Men and Beasts{"}: Rereading Karen Blixen's Anthropomorphisms",
abstract = "Danish author Karen Blixen's frequent use of human–animal comparisons in Out of Africa (1937) has been critically controversial ever since the early 1980s, when the Kenyan writer and critic Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o cited this practice as evidence of Blixen's racist and dehumanizing portrayal of Africans. In this essay, I outline an alternative way of thinking about anthropomorphism and zoomorphism that is inspired by current theoretical developments in critical posthumanism, animal studies, new materialism, and ecocriticism. Reading the anthropomorphic/zoomorphic imagery that pervades Out of Africa, I endeavor to show that the premises underpinning Ngũgĩ's influential critique are precisely the problematic assumptions that Blixen labors to destabilize. As I interpret Blixen's textual maneuvers, these tropes function less to privilege some characters and dehumanize others along social and racial lines than to make it radically unclear exactly what the categories “human” and “animal” mean in her narrative world.",
keywords = "animal studies, anthropomorphism, creatureliness, dehumanization, posthumanism, zoomorphism",
author = "Peter Mortensen",
year = "2018",
doi = "10.1111/oli.12195",
language = "English",
volume = "73",
pages = "506--519",
journal = "Orbis Litterarum",
issn = "0105-7510",
publisher = "Jossey-Bass",
number = "6",

}

RIS

TY - JOUR

T1 - "Both Men and Beasts"

T2 - Rereading Karen Blixen's Anthropomorphisms

AU - Mortensen, Peter

PY - 2018

Y1 - 2018

N2 - Danish author Karen Blixen's frequent use of human–animal comparisons in Out of Africa (1937) has been critically controversial ever since the early 1980s, when the Kenyan writer and critic Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o cited this practice as evidence of Blixen's racist and dehumanizing portrayal of Africans. In this essay, I outline an alternative way of thinking about anthropomorphism and zoomorphism that is inspired by current theoretical developments in critical posthumanism, animal studies, new materialism, and ecocriticism. Reading the anthropomorphic/zoomorphic imagery that pervades Out of Africa, I endeavor to show that the premises underpinning Ngũgĩ's influential critique are precisely the problematic assumptions that Blixen labors to destabilize. As I interpret Blixen's textual maneuvers, these tropes function less to privilege some characters and dehumanize others along social and racial lines than to make it radically unclear exactly what the categories “human” and “animal” mean in her narrative world.

AB - Danish author Karen Blixen's frequent use of human–animal comparisons in Out of Africa (1937) has been critically controversial ever since the early 1980s, when the Kenyan writer and critic Ngũgĩ wa Thiong'o cited this practice as evidence of Blixen's racist and dehumanizing portrayal of Africans. In this essay, I outline an alternative way of thinking about anthropomorphism and zoomorphism that is inspired by current theoretical developments in critical posthumanism, animal studies, new materialism, and ecocriticism. Reading the anthropomorphic/zoomorphic imagery that pervades Out of Africa, I endeavor to show that the premises underpinning Ngũgĩ's influential critique are precisely the problematic assumptions that Blixen labors to destabilize. As I interpret Blixen's textual maneuvers, these tropes function less to privilege some characters and dehumanize others along social and racial lines than to make it radically unclear exactly what the categories “human” and “animal” mean in her narrative world.

KW - animal studies

KW - anthropomorphism

KW - creatureliness

KW - dehumanization

KW - posthumanism

KW - zoomorphism

UR - https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/epdf/10.1111/oli.12195

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85050675901&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1111/oli.12195

DO - 10.1111/oli.12195

M3 - Journal article

VL - 73

SP - 506

EP - 519

JO - Orbis Litterarum

JF - Orbis Litterarum

SN - 0105-7510

IS - 6

ER -