Narrating Animal Trauma in Bulgakov and Tolstoy
AbstractFollowing the recent “animal turn” in literary studies, which has inspired scholars to revisit traditional human-centered interpretations of texts narrated by animals, this article focuses on the convergence of animal studies and trauma theory. It offers new animal-centered close readings of Tolstoy’s Strider and Bulgakov’s Heart of a Dog, paying attention to animal pain rather than seeing it, and the text as a whole, as an allegory of human society. Like many other authors of literary fiction featuring animal narrators, Tolstoy and Bulgakov employ a kind of empathic ventriloquism to narrate animal pain, an important project which, however, given the status of both the animal and trauma outside human language, and thus susceptible to being distorted by it, produces inauthentic discourse (animal-like, rather than animal narration); therefore, these authors get closest to animal pain, not through sophisticated narration, but through the use of ellipses and onomatopoeia. Ultimately, any narratological difficulty with animal focalization is minor compared to the ethical imperative of anti-speciesist animal-standpoint criticism, and the goal is to reconceive the status of animals in literature so as to change their ontological place in the world, urging that this critical work and animal rights advocacy be continued in the classroom. View Full-Text
Share & Cite This Article
Andrianova, A. Narrating Animal Trauma in Bulgakov and Tolstoy. Humanities 2016, 5, 84.
Andrianova A. Narrating Animal Trauma in Bulgakov and Tolstoy. Humanities. 2016; 5(4):84.Chicago/Turabian Style
Andrianova, Anastassiya. 2016. "Narrating Animal Trauma in Bulgakov and Tolstoy." Humanities 5, no. 4: 84.
Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.