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Neanderthals, a study

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Neanderthals, a study

Lam, Amy (2008) Neanderthals, a study. Masters thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

Neanderthals, A Study is an attempt at writing the ultimate natural history text: a speculative study of a species that is supposed to be extinct, the genre is imagined as one that creates as it describes. Before Linnaeus, father of the modern systems of classification that structure how we know the natural world today, creatures lacked place and name. The discipline of natural history, then, provokes the question of whether or not identity exists pre-language; without "elephant" to gather and frame all elephants, what is an elephant? In a zoo, how does one elephant manage to represent all elephants? Conceptually liminal, neither true animals nor true humans, Neanderthals bear the burden of contemporary anxiety about the future of our species. In the same way that "primitive peoples" are portrayed as living in antediluvian or utopian worlds, the narrator Amy Lam's representation of the Neanderthals enacts a particular longing for an elemental, non-technological, nearly supernatural, state of being. The impossibility of this, however, is echoed by the impossible scope of the project itself. The shadow premise--that an impersonator has already written the same book, but in a very different way--emphasizes the desire embodied in fiction: to create something entirely new, even as all the words (and names) are inescapably old. A work-in-progress, Neanderthals, A Study aims to be a hypothesis of the point at which alien but twin selves meet.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > English
Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Authors:Lam, Amy
Pagination:iii, 78 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:M.A.
Program:English
Date:2008
Thesis Supervisor(s):Jossel, A
ID Code:976109
Deposited By: Concordia University Library
Deposited On:22 Jan 2013 16:20
Last Modified:18 Jan 2018 17:41
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