Aspects of Metamorphosis: Fictional Representations of the Becoming Human

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Aspects of Metamorphosis: Fictional Representations of the Becoming Human explores the various forms of metamorphosis found in literature – mostly modern fiction but informed by earlier examples – and the premises upon which the literature of transformation may be said to depend. Instances of metamorphosis are very widespread in modern literature but as yet there has been no attempt to describe this literary-anthropological phenomenon from a larger perspective. This study approaches such a task. The focus ofAspects of Metamorphosis is on human-animal fictional metamorphoses which embody the concept of becoming-human. Gilles Deleuze describes metamorphosis (especially in Kafka) as the becoming-animal. Across the wide range of examples of literary metamorphosis in different languages and cultures, I describe the becoming-animal as an aspect of the becoming human, a radical approach to mankind's perception of itself, and restoration to itself, through an animal other. Franz Kafka is in many ways an odd man out in the crowd of modern metamorphosists. Other authors across borders, political, geographical and linguistic, present a humanist and moralist perspective that does not represent a fundamental break with the norms and cultural traditions rooted in the past.

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