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Post-apocalyptic Storytelling and Post-anthropocentric Ethics in Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy

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Presented at Literature, Ethics, Morality: American Studies Perspectives – SANAS biannual conference. University of Basel - 21-22 November 2014 - . 2014, p. 1-7
Abstract Margaret Atwood states that “we are all telling stories to ourselves all the time, if it's only the story of our own life … memory evolved not to remind us of the past but to help us prepare for the future.” Indeed, stories, autobiographical or not, are widely considered to be fundamental in shaping our own identities (for example, moral, cultural, and/or national) and interpersonal relationships, as well as in shaping how we interact as a society. As David Eagleman suggests, in his review of Jonathan Gottschall’s The Story-Telling Animal, “stories serve the biological function of encouraging pro-social behavior.” Autobiographical stories and story-telling are at the heart of Atwood’s dystopian MaddAddam trilogy. As Atwood, Eagleman, and Gottschall suggest, these stories and the ways they are told are intrinsically linked to the different ethics and morals within the three novels. Through Atwood's MaddAddam trilogy, this presentation will explore the link between story-telling, narrative structure, and metafiction on the one hand and social ethics and individual morals on the other. Specifically, this presentation will closely analyse the relationship between the dissolution of culture, individual subjectivity, morality, language and narrative structure and the significance of reconstructing this dissolution via a genetically modified, morally “pre-programmed” posthuman narrator, resulting in a post-apocalyptic, posthumanist and, arguably, post-speciesist ethics.
Keywords MoralityAtwoodPosthumanismAnthropocentrismAnimal studiesApocalypse
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SKIBO-BIRNEY, Bryn. Post-apocalyptic Storytelling and Post-anthropocentric Ethics in Atwood’s MaddAddam Trilogy. In: Literature, Ethics, Morality: American Studies Perspectives – SANAS biannual conference. University of Basel. 2014. 1-7 p. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:101452

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Deposited on : 2018-01-17

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