October 09 , 2008

The Thing

A Phenomenology of Horror


What is the human body? Both the most familiar and unfamiliar of things, the body is the centre of experience but also the site of a prehistory anterior to any experience. Alien and uncanny, this other side of the body has all too often been overlooked by phenomenology. In confronting this oversight, Dylan Trigg’s The Thing redefines phenomenology as a species of realism, which he terms unhuman phenomenology. Far from being the vehicle of a human voice, this unhuman phenomenology gives expression to the alien materiality at the limit of experience. By fusing the philosophies of Merleau-Ponty, Husserl, and Levinas with the horrors of John Carpenter, David Cronenberg, and H.P. Lovecraft, Trigg explores the ways in which an unhuman phenomenology positions the body out of time. At once a challenge to traditional notions of phenomenology, The Thing is also a timely rejoinder to contemporary philosophies of realism. The result is nothing less than a rebirth of phenomenology as redefined through the lens of horror.

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