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Reading: Teeming Stomachs and Infinite Spirals: Posthuman Anxiety in Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Ju...

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Teeming Stomachs and Infinite Spirals: Posthuman Anxiety in Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here and John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down

Author:

Amy Waite

About Amy

Amy Waite is a Research Fellow in the department of English and Creative Writing at the University
of Roehampton. Her research and teaching interests include posthumanism, animal studies, new
materialism and ecocriticism, with a focus on twentieth century poetry and contemporary
children's fiction. Prior to joining Roehampton, Amy worked as a literary agent at Felicity Bryan
Associates, specializing in Young Adult fiction.

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Abstract

The posthuman – as ontology, theory, philosophy, ethical framework – has been somewhat valorised in the cultural and critical imagination of late: heralded as the aspirational antithesis of a longstanding, yet long-critiqued humanist infrastructure based on division and exclusion. In particular, critics of young adult fiction have – through extensive posthumanist readings of fantasy, dystopia, and speculative/science fiction genres – lauded the posthuman as a powerful (if often latent) force capable of disrupting tyrannous regimes, saving the planet and generally kicking serious existential ass. But what does the posthuman mean beyond these genres? Who is excluded from these spectacular narratives of empowerment? And to what effect? Through an examination of adolescent anxiety in John Green’s Turtles All The Way Down (2017) and Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here (2015), this article draws connections between the posthuman and mental health that expose the dangers of this new exceptionalism – even (or especially) when it operates under the guise of ‘butt-kicking’ empowerment and radical inclusivity.

How to Cite: Waite, A., 2020. Teeming Stomachs and Infinite Spirals: Posthuman Anxiety in Patrick Ness’s The Rest of Us Just Live Here and John Green’s Turtles All the Way Down. The International Journal of Young Adult Literature, 1(1). DOI: http://doi.org/10.24877/ijyal.26
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Published on 02 Nov 2020.
Peer Reviewed

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