Abstract

Abstract:

Current approaches within the humanities wish to represent nature beyond anthropocentric limits. In this article, I examine this approach through the trope of the water and the oceanic in Amélie Nothomb's novel Métaphysique des tubes and Marie Darrieussecq's Le mal de mer. Against the Freudian notion of the "Oceanic Feeling," in which the ocean is reduced to a mere metaphor of a firm dissolution of the ego, the literary articulation of oceanic space in these works render it a productive force, unremittingly changing, and differentiating from itself. In essence, the works show that water is not necessarily inert, stable, and calm: water can definitely be inert, but also tremulous, productive, and creative. For that, the oceanic has to be perceived as a movement between finitude and infinitude, not as a limit defined "outside" of life correspondingly to Freud, but as a limit within life, or perhaps, a limit that the motion towards it is life itself. Thus, they invite us to conceive the ocean in a posthuman fashion: not as a clichéd literary metaphor of the exotic force of nature, but as a true manifestation of constant differing and becoming—utterly the process which composes both literature and life.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-1836
Print ISSN
0098-9355
Pages
pp. 189-204
Launched on MUSE
2021-02-12
Open Access
No
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