Abstract

Abstract:

This article explores the complex perspectival play underlying readers' engagement with Isserley, the alien protagonist of Michel Faber's 2000 novel Under the Skin. I focus on three dimensions: first, the novel destabilizes readers' conception of the human, asking them to move between their anthropocentric assumptions and Isserley's "alien" point of view; second, it exposes the constraints that language and concepts pose on intersubjective interaction, showing any form of "mercy" to be fundamentally "murky" (to quote one of the novel's pivotal scenes); third, it calls attention to the strangeness of consciousness itself in a universe dominated by brute matter and strict physical laws. The result of these interrogations is a sophisticated novel that demonstrates literature's power to probe what Cora Diamond has called the "difficulty of reality."

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Additional Information

ISSN
1542-4286
Print ISSN
0093-3139
Pages
pp. 591-614
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-12
Open Access
No
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