So there are two essays that have come out recently that I think are awesome. I want you to check them out.
The first is James Stanescu’s “Toward a Dark Animal Studies: On Vegetarian Vampires, Beautiful Souls, and Becoming-Vegan.” I had the privilege of being in-department when Stanescu (aka Critical Animal) was writing the paper, and it was great watching the essay come together.
The essay is mostly concerned with what it means to live guilty and to understand ethics inside of that guilt–for Stanescu, this becomes central to the question of human relations with nonhuman animals. The essay hinges on a reading of Tim Morton’s “beautiful soul syndrome” and how it applies to a lived ethics. Strangely enough, I was listening to Morton’s talk “Art Without You” recently, and there’s a resonance between Stanescu’s essay and what Morton says when he claims that we can do no right by the hyperobject–by that he means that there is no “answer” to large-scale problems, and that we, essentially, have to produce new modes of meaning and thinking in the face of the unthinkable. Similarly, Stanescu claims that living a post-lapsarian life–one in which we are complicit, and responsible for, violence all the time–means that we need new conceptions of ethics and politics. We need steps forward. We need to become a bit stranger.
And I am totally into that.
The second essay that I’m excited about is Steven Shaviro’s “Melancholia or, The Romantic Anti-Sublime.”
I will be super honest with you: I’ve not had a chance to read the entire thing yet. It is super long. You will forgive me. But what I have read so far is stellar, enough that I think you should read it, and maybe I will do some better work on it later next week.
Probably not. I’m not the most dependable.