|"At long last, humanism is coming into question. Critics and theorists such as Louis Althusser and Michel Foucault began this process; critics and theorists such as Kelly Hurley continue the process, and in so doing, carry out one of the most important cultural and intellectual tasks of our time.
We must move beyond humanism -- which includes the belief in an essential human nature -- if we are to stop the cycle of genocidal violence, to build fair and free communities for all, and to save our planet and its remaining species.
But to move beyond humanism, we must be able to step outside of it. 'The Gothic Body' help us to do just that. Prof. Hurley carefully investigates some of the most revealing artifacts of humanism: the literature of the fantastic, which includes Stoker's Dracula, Stevenson's Jekyll and Hyde, and Well's Island of Dr. Moreau. Hurley analyzes these and other works within the context of their times, using early criminology studies, for instance. And thanks to her post-structuralist/postmodernist perspective, Hurley points to a range of important insights about these works, about their times, and about our times.
Read this book, enjoy it, and think about it. It may change your appreciation of the significance of literary (and cinematic) genres. And it may help to change your worldview in some very central ways -- if you allow it to, and hopefully you will. It *is* a detailed literary study of important works seldom studied so closely and taken so seriously. But the works deserve this attention. And the issues raise by these works through Hurley's analysis are of great importance. It is no exercise in esoterica.
Finally, the person behind this book, is a truly great teacher and person. Not only does she provide original and incisive ideas and insights, she does so in a remarkably accessible and enjoyable manner. If you cannot take one of her university courses, then do the next best thing by reading 'The Gothic Body.'
If you are interested in the issues raised by her book, you should also look at 'Posthuman Bodies,' a 1995 anthology in which Hurley contributes an article entitled "Reading Like an Alien: Posthuman Identity in Ridley Scott's 'Alien' and David Cronenberg's 'Rabid." Also, you should check out 'The Cinematic Body' by Steven Shaviro, a like-minded thinker who is also represented in the 1995 anthology.
To learn more about what exactly is at stake in regard to humanism, and how to think about humanism and the alternatives, there are many resources. Among the most profound in terms of what is at stake, is William Haver's 'The Body of This Death: Historicity and Sociality in the Time of AIDS.' And of course, there are the works of Michel Foucault ('Discipline and Punish' & 'History of Sexuality' for example). Plus there's Louis Althusser, Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, Michael Hardt, Brian Massumi, Toni Negri, Gloria Anzaldua, Judith Butler, Donna Haraway, Iris Marion Young, Elizabeth Grosz, John Caputo, William Connolly, Jean-Francois Lyotard, Jean-Luc Nancy, and the recent works of Jacques Derrida. And there's so many, and so much, more. "