"Men, Women, and the Nonhuman, or, Je est un autre....chose"

Prof. Lynda Zwinger
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This paper explores the complex intertwining of the construction of men, woman, and the nonhuman in some recent film narratives, with attention to their precursor images in literature and theory. The focus is on texts that place the feminine and the nonhuman in juxtaposition, raising questions about the cultural construction of bodies, genders, sexualities, and familial positions and narratives. The discussion begins with the telling ambivalence about feminine beauty and its consequent effect on men found in "precursor" texts (Freud's essays "The Taboo On Virginity", "A Special Type of Object Choice Made By Men", "Female Sexuality", "Medusa's Head"; Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter"; James's "The Jolly Corner" and "Daisy Miller"). This opens the discussion for an extended examination of the mutual construction of subjectivity and monstrosity in several films (King Kong, The Big Sleep, Double Indemnity, the Alien series, and G. I. Jane), with excursions into the recent media construction/narrativization of female soldiers in the news.

Keywords: Sexualities, Genders, Literature, Film, Monstrosity, Psychoanalytic, Cultural Studies, Subjectivities, Literary Theory
Stream: Literature, Literary Studies, Media, Film Studies, Theatre, Communication, Sexuality, Gender, Families
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: "Men, Women, and the Nonhuman, or, Je est un autre . . . chose"

Prof. Lynda Zwinger

Associate Professor, Department of English, Women's Studies Affiliated Faculty, Group for Early Modern Studies Member, Associate Editor, Arizona Quarterly, University of Arizona

Lynda Zwinger has published on the novel, gender, sexualities, popular film, and literary theory. Her Ph.D. is from SUNY Buffalo. Her publication venues include the University of Wisconsin Press, Journal of Modern Fiction Studies, Hypatia, Raritan, the University of Minnesota Press, Routledge, Nineteenth Century Novel. She is editor of two Special Issues of Arizona Quarterly on Henry James.

Ref: H05P0610