Poetics of Deconstruction: On the Threshold of Differences

Turner, Lynn. 2020. Poetics of Deconstruction: On the Threshold of Differences. London: Bloomsbury Academic. ISBN 9781350128590 [Book]

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Abstract or Description

In Poetics of Deconstruction, Lynn Turner develops an intimate attention to independent films, art, and the psychoanalyses by which they might make sense other than under continued license of the subject that calls himself man. Drawing extensively from Jacques Derrida's philosophy in precise dialogue with feminist thought, animal studies and posthumanism (Hélène Cixous, Luce Irigaray, Donna Haraway, Cary Wolfe) this book explores the vulnerability of the living as rooted in non-oppositional differences. From abjection to mourning, to the speculative and the performative, it reposes concepts and buzzwords seemingly at home in feminist theory, visual culture and the humanities more broadly. Stepping away from the carno-phallogocentric legacies of the signifier and the dialectic, Poetics of Deconstruction asks you to welcome nonpower into politics, always sexual but no longer anchored in sacrifice.

Table of Contents:

1. Preface: poetics of deconstruction

2. The Animal Cure: inhaling the other in Dean Spanley

3. Raising Animals: The Woman and the Animal between the basement and the kennel

4. Speculations: gesture in Conceiving Ada and Absent Presence

5. Unfamiliar Unconscious: the performativity of Infinity Kisses

6. Outlaws: towards a posthumanist feminine in Dancer in the Dark

7. In lieu of Conclusion: cardiopedagogy in White God

(77, 000 words)


“Lynn Turner's exhilarating, elegant, and very important book overturns common conceptions about human exceptionalism, hospitality, the place accorded to the feminine, and animal intimacy. Turner shows how, at its 'heart', deconstruction entreats us to listen for the poetic rhythms that link the fundamental questions of life to the stereographic rhythms that speak to us from the heart of the other.”
– Elissa Marder, Professor of French and Comparative Literature, Emory University, USA

“Lynn Turner brilliantly follows the trace of differences-animal, sexual, racial-in readings of film, text and flesh that prove the ongoing relevance and importance of deconstruction for our times. Her own poetics offers keen insights into the writings of Derrida, Freud, Cixous, Irigaray, and Haraway among others.”
– Kari Weil, University Professor of Letters, Wesleyan University, USA

'Immersive, subtle, illuminating, bizarre: these are a few of the adjectives that might be used to describe Lynn Turner’s compelling book. Poetics of Deconstruction focuses mostly on film and visual culture, but its concerns are multifarious and often surprising – from Irigaray to Björk, from Haraway to von Trier, from cats and dogs to kisses and the death penalty. It is also an especially distinctive and welcome study for the ways in which it brings together Jacques Derrida’s writings on the performative with notions of performativity in gender and film theory.''
- Nicholas Royle, Professor of English, University of Sussex.

Item Type:



Deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, Donna Haraway, Julia Kristeva, Luce Irigaray, Hélène Cixous, Cary Wolfe, Animal Studies, Feminist Theory, Film Theory, Death Penalty, Poetics, Ethics, Psychoanalysis, Abjection, Melancholia, Law

Departments, Centres and Research Units:

Visual Cultures


15 October 2020

Item ID:


Date Deposited:

11 Jan 2018 14:11

Last Modified:

18 Mar 2021 11:54



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