Some Endangered Feeling
This essay sees the recent trend in novels that feature damaged, partial, or wayward protagonists as the ascent of a tradition of formal outliers as old as the novel itself to a position of dominance. Rather than formulate a self-contained individual capable of defending itself against whatever forces of nature or society might disperse and refigure it, this other tradition gave into those forces, releasing human subjectivity from the confines of the self-regulating individual. Why now? How does this major turn in the history of the novel contribute to the current reconsideration of human motivation and behavior in light of affect theory? If Robinson Crusoe provided a bellwether for the individual to come, then what can the damaged protagonist of Tom McCarthy's 2005 novel Remainder tell us about the selves we are likely to become?
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