The "unimaginable border" and bare life in Eva Hornung's Dog Boy

Date

2017-03-01

Authors

Neave, Lucy

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

Sage Publications Inc

Abstract

This article offers a consideration of the figure of the feral child in Australian writer Eva Hornung’s Dog Boy (2009), a novel based on stories circulating in the media about children raised by dogs in post-perestroika Russia. The book was praised for its exploration of the liminal space occupied by its protagonist, Romochka, the ecocritical potential in the idea of ferality, and its grimly realistic portrayal of both Romochka’s privations and the comfort offered by the company and loyalty of dogs. I read the novel less optimistically, through Giorgio Agamben’s conception of “bare life” and the metaphorical instrument of its production, the anthropological machine as described in The Open: Man and Animal. Romochka is excluded from political life and from legal protection, yet is subject to state intervention. Further, I argue that the novel is engaged in Australian and international debates about people excluded from political life and from the protection of the law, such as the homeless and refugees, who are nonetheless exposed to state power and surveillance.

Description

Keywords

animal, anthropological machine, bare life, feral child, human, recent Australian fiction

Citation

Source

Journal of Commonwealth Literature

Type

Journal article

Book Title

Entity type

Access Statement

License Rights

DOI

10.1177/0021989417692389

Restricted until

2037-12-31