English Research Seminar Series

In the Face of Explicatory Failure: Alife and Maternity in M. John Harrison's Empty Space

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As part of the School of Arts and Humanities: English Research seminar series, Dr Sarah Dillon, University of Cambridge, presents: "In the Face of Explicatory Failure: Alife and Maternity in M. John Harrison's Empty Space".

  • From: Wednesday 9 December 2015, 1 pm
  • To: Wednesday 9 December 2015, 2 pm
  • Location: 019, Mary Ann Evans building, Nottingham Trent University, Clifton Campus, Clifton Lane, Nottingham, NG11 8NS

Past event

Event details

As part of the School of Arts and Humanities: English Research seminar series, Dr Sarah Dillon, University of Cambridge, presents: In the Face of Explicatory Failure: Alife and Maternity in M. John Harrison's Empty Space.

When the character Imps witnesses the massive onslaught of hundreds of millions of battered space ship hulks entering the Kefahuchi Tract at the end of M. J. Harrison's Empty Space, he responds in a recognisably human way: "The fuck," Imps asked himself, "is happening here?" (Harrison, Empty Space 287). Imps' response serves as a succinct synecdoche for the reader's state when first confronted with the extraordinary excess of Harrison's trilogy – the reader finds herself, as Imps does when the ships vanish, "deep in explicatory failure" (287).

In an attempt to confront and extricate myself from this failure, in this paper I read the final novel in Harrison's trilogy in relation to the Deleuzian theory of becoming and Richard Doyle's idea of alife in order to attempt to understand a fraction of this complex trilogy: Empty Space’s recurrent and otherwise seemingly incongruous obsession with sexual reproduction, birth and maternity.

This seminar is hosted by Sarah Jackson.

All welcome.

Location details

Room/Building:

019, Mary Ann Evans building

Address:

Nottingham Trent University
Clifton Campus
Clifton Lane
Nottingham
NG11 8NS

Past event

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