A Posthuman Econarratological Reading of Julian Barnes's A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters, Peter Ackroyd's The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein and Alan Moore's The Saga of the Swamp Thing
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Co-opting posthumanism and the 4EA cognition theory, this study is concerned with the endeavor in econarratology to employ new understandings of existence and the borders of the mind in approaches to narratives. For this purpose, in Julian Barnes’s A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters (1989), Peter Ackroyd’s The Casebook of Victor Frankenstein (2008), and Alan Moore’s The Saga of the Swamp Thing Volume 1 (1984), this dissertation argues that the writers’ and readers’ minds, other-than-mind forces such as the body, environment (the physical features and artifacts, spatiotemporal dynamics) and their affective states are at work during cognition. It propounds that the readers’ affective states which emerge a result of their interaction with the actual and imaginary worlds participate in cognition and that the narratives become their extended imagination. Barnes offers a formula for how catastrophe is transformed into art and it corresponds to the idea of the extended imagination stated in this study. According to this formula, the environment surrounding the artist becomes his “cognitive niche” functioning as an active part of the reimagining process. In The Casebook, London turns into a nonbiological prop aiding the writer’s cognitive activities. Therefore, thanks to the agency of the city and the author’s affective states concerning London, Frankenstein’s creature is reimagined as a trilateral entity that embodies the Monster’s disabled body, the scientist’s disturbed mind, and London’s monstrous body. In The Swamp Thing, Moore’s concern about the environmental crisis and his interest in the scientific experiments causes a shift in Wein and Wrightson’s swamp monster’s genesis. Swamp Thing becomes a posthuman entity in which Alec Holland’s human memory, the bio-restorative formula, the inhabitants of the swamp co- exist. Drawing on plant neurobiology and critical plant studies, the definitions of cognition and the brain are reworked from the point of plantae. Consequently, in the process of reimagination, other-than-mind forces or the nonhuman agency generate different meanings in narratives which differ from what the author originally intends to write.