Abstract

abstract:

This article weirdly pairs the cannibal and the plagiarist as moral monsters–figures outside of conventional societal and legal categories–to argue that monstrous logic can offer potential correctives to common laws that otherwise demonize transgressive figures. An introduction to Mark Fisher's analysis of the "weird" will complement the tracing of the figure of Richard Parker throughout three literary texts and one historical text: Edgar Allan Poe's The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, Yann Martel's Life of Pi, Mat Johnson's Pym, and A.W. Brian Simpson's Cannibalism and the Common Law. Demonstrating the familiar and repeated tropes associated with nautical survival cannibalism, or "the custom of the sea," this article claims the economic and political motivations that often underlie travel narratives relegate any monstrous and humanist concerns to a secondary, lesser importance. The conclusion suggests that thinking through monstrous categories may offer alternative solutions to contemporary problems of conspicuous consumption, resource ownership and exhaustion, and environmental crisis.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1712-5278
Print ISSN
0042-0247
Pages
pp. 176-195
Launched on MUSE
2018-03-30
Open Access
N
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