Narrative and Systems
Publication Year: 2008
Published by: Fordham University Press
Figures and Tables
At the 1999 Society for Literature and Science conference, Joe Tabbi asked me to write up Friedrich Kittler’s recently translated Gramophone, Film, Typewriter for the electronic book review, prompting a rewarding engagement with media theory. This project began in earnest under the title ‘‘Bodies of...
Narratives of bodily metamorphosis depict in various figures the restless transformations of the human. Over several millennia at least, momentous corporeal change has been a remarkably stable form of event that connects the fabulae of mythic and literary narratives. Premodern myth and legend...
1. Narrative and Systems
Narrative is a primary formal and thematic program running on the complex infrastructures of social and psychic systems. The medium of narrative in society is the network of metabiotic meaning systems and their media environments. The maintenance-in-being of narratives in any textual...
2. Nonmodern Metamorphosis
The theory of evolution marks a recent moment in the long history of narratives of bodily metamorphosis, a modern moment when scientific discourse presented new and persuasive explanations for divergences in the forms of living beings. Darwinisms of many stripes replaced more...
3. System and Form
In autopoietic systems theory the system–environment distinction exhibits a double positivity. There is no shearing off into exclusivities of subject or object, system idealism or environmental materialism. Environments secure the being of systems that secure the knowing of environments in an...
4. Metamorphosis and Embedding
Postmodern, self-reflexive texts as well as their cyberpunk spawn are well understood as fictive reworkings of cybernetic developments. Narratives of bodily transformation in the cybernetic era are often feedback loops reentering the forms of computation and communication technologies into the...
5. Communicating The Fly
In displaying the transformative power or posthuman agency of communications technology, The Fly unfolds the paradoxes of media. Friedrich Kittler has written: ‘‘no means of transportation are more economical that those which convey information rather than goods and people.’’1 Whereas...
6. Posthuman Viability
‘‘Hard SF’’ is distinguished from its fellow genres by the relative verisimilitude of its scientific representations. Modern stories of bodily metamorphosis adapt themselves to this generic pressure at the level of their biological motivations. Both the plausibility and the viability of the depicted...
Conclusion: The Neocybernetic Posthuman
To return a last time to Latour’s term, narratives of bodily transformation are nonmodern—at once archaic and posthuman. The narrative metamorphs of every era are allegorical beings that index systemic complexes. Their altered bodies convey the materialities of their own mediated being and the...
Page Count: 192
Publication Year: 2008
OCLC Number: 652250371
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Posthuman Metamorphosis