Narrating Life – Experiments with Human and Animal Bodies in Literature, Science and Art


Volume Editors: Stefan Herbrechter and Elisabeth Friis
Narrating Life explores the relationship between literature, science and the arts and the way in which they are informed by the process of narrating life. More specifically, it asks: how do literature, science and the arts affect and are affected by the emergence of a critical culture of biopolitics and its rhetorical figurations? Its topicality for literary and cultural studies lies therefore in its exploration of the question: to what extent could narratives of life (or life-writing) be understood as a special practice through which to access the contemporary discussion about biopolitics with its strategies of immunity, mutation, and contagion. The individual contributions address these questions through focusing on new forms of life writing in traditional and new media, science writing and artistic and critical creative practice. In doing so, they also explore and redraw the boundaries between fictional and factual experimental practices.

Contributors: Amelie Björck, Elisabeth Friis, Holly Henry, Stefan Herbrechter, Tom Idema, Moritz Ingwersen, Cristina Iuli, Tanja Nusser, Angela Rawlings, Manuela Rossini, Dorion Sagan, Laura Shackelford, Amalie Smith, Marianne Sommer, Steve Tomasula, David Wagner , Jeff Wallace, Dominik Zechner.

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Stefan Herbrechter is a Research Fellow at Coventry University and Privatdozent at Heidelberg University. He is the author of Posthumanism: A Critical Analysis and general editor of the Brill series Critical Posthumanisms. For more information please see

Elisabeth Friis is Associate Professor at the Department of Comparative Literature, Lund University. She is the editor of the journal Kritik and editor of several of Clarice Lispector’s works. Her research interests include: Homer and (non-)anthropomorphism, oral theory, feminism & posthumanism, ecopoetics and contemporary poetry.

Table of Contents


1 - Stefan Herbrechter, Narrating(-)Life – In Lieu of an Introduction
2 - Fiction: David Wagner, Life/Lives

Narrating Life in Literature

3 - Elisabeth Friis, In my core I have the strange impression that I don’t belong to the human species: Clarice Lispector’s Água viva as Life Writing?
4 - Holly Henry, Charting Solar Systems, Exoplanets and Earth 2.0
5- Tom Idema, Species Encounters: O. Butler Meets Haraway Meets Deleuze and Guattari
6 - Moritz Ingwersen, Solid-State Fiction: J.G. Ballard and the Crystallization of Life
7 - Cristina Iuli, Dissonance, Data, and DNA: Aesthetics, Biopolitics and Transgenic Music in Richard Powers’ Orfeo
8 - Tanja Nusser, “Chromosomal cuties”, “fembots”, “chatty cyber trio” or “cantankerous clones”? Lynn Hershman Leeson’s Film Teknolust
9 - Manuela Rossini, Submarine Experiments with Human Lives by Christoph Ransmayr – a Waterman Narrates
10 - Laura Shackelford, In Toxicating Languages of Bioinformatic Circulation: Poetics and Other “Smallwork” in The Flame Alphabet
11 - Jeff Wallace, Life Beyond “Critique”: Murakami after Latour
12 - Dominik Zechner, Aporias of Survival: Kafka’s Alien Incursion
13 - Fiction: Steve Tomasula, The Atlas of Man (If by Man We Also Mean Woman)

Narrating Life in Science

14 - Amelie Björck, Linear Time and Revolutionary Time: Humans, Apes, and Temporality in Scientific and Literary Narratives
15 - Angela Rawlings, Ecolinguistic Activism: How and Why to Rite
16 - Dorion Sagan, Death Writing: A Bestiary of the Biological Real
17 - Marianne Sommer, Experimenting with Bones
18 - Coda: Amalie Smith, The Sponge Diver or Bodies on the Seabed

Notes on Contributors
Those interested in the interface of fiction and science, literature, and the arts and their theoretical and practical implication in the current biopolitical context..