The infinite posthuman? Narrative time as a critique of perfection

The visions and hopes for a longer and even infinite life are recurrent in discourses on the posthuman, not least among the transhumanists (Mehlman). “The infinite posthuman?” will seek to clarify: (1) how imperfection is valuable as part of a logic of narratives that is expressed in dystopian visions of the future, (2) how the problem of time has fostered literary creativity, (3) how an existence beyond the body is presented as both the only hope for a timeless existence and as tragic, and (4) how the sense of historical time is affected by the stronger presence of past and future evolution.

Three kinds of material will be included in a comparative investigation of how the problem of time and narrative is expressed both thematically and formally: (1) 20th century fiction which engages with new visions of time (eg. Borges, Proust). (2) Science fiction that deals with overcoming the limited time of existence of humans (eg. Stapledon and Gibson). (3) Visions of human development presented by transhumanist writers and philosophers (eg. Kurzweil and Bostrom).

Mads Rosendahl Thomsen

Professor with Special Responsibilities
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