Representing Vulnerabilities in Contemporary Literature includes a collection of essays exploring the ways in which recent literary representations of vulnerability may problematize its visibilization from an ethical and aesthetic perspective. Recent technological and scientific developments have accentuated human vulnerability in many and different ways at a cross-national, and even cross-species level. Disability, technological, and ecological vulnerabilities are new foci of interest that add up to gender, precarity and trauma, among others, as forms of vulnerability in this volume. The literary visualization of these vulnerabilities might help raise social awareness of one’s own vulnerabilities as well as those of others so as to bring about global solidarity based on affinity and affect. However, the literary representation of forms of vulnerability might also deepen stigmatization phenomena and trivialize the spectacularization of vulnerability by blunting readers’ affective response towards those products that strive to hold their attention and interest in an information-saturated, global entertainment market.

chapter |16 pages


Current Literary Representations of Vulnerability. Ethical and Aesthetic Concerns

chapter 2|15 pages

Performing Ceremony

Healing, Empowering, Re-Writing History in Alexis P. Gumbs' Dub (2020)

chapter 3|14 pages

The Visibility of Embeddings

Materiality, Vulnerability, and Care in Cynan Jones's The Long Dry (2006)

chapter 4|15 pages

Pretty Dolls Don't Play Dice

The Calculated Vulnerabilities of Jennifer Egan's Manhattan Beach (2017)

chapter 5|14 pages

Wolves, Bees, and Roaches

On the Nexus between Cultural Production and the Vulnerability of Humans and Non-Human Species

chapter 6|15 pages

“The Ones We Love Are Enemies of the State”

Mourners and Trespassers in Kamila Shamsie's Home Fire (2017)

chapter 7|14 pages

Mapping Contemporary Hell

Vulnerability, Social Invisibility, and Spectral Mourning in Jon McGregor's Even the Dogs (2010)

chapter 8|15 pages

The Logics of Vulnerability

Challenging the Ungrievable Différance of the Other in Tabish Khair's Just Another Jihadi Jane (2016)

chapter 9|15 pages

Technological Vulnerability in the Fourth Industrial Revolution

Don DeLillo's The Silence (2020)

chapter 10|16 pages

When Immortality Becomes a Burden

Transhuman Vulnerability and Self-Consciousness in William Gibson's Neuromancer (1984)