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Cottom’s Clever Chiasmus

A review of Daniel Cottom’s Unhuman Culture appears in the January/February 2007 Bloomsbury Review. Critic Larry T. Shillock writes:

Unhuman Culture takes the categories of the person and the Other, the human and culture, and questions whether their opposition is as fixed as we would think. In particular, Cottom is interested in how language and art animate the human. Our tendency to think and write passionately about the art we make leads him to criticize our "perennial and perhaps inescapable tendency to underestimate the art in humanity and overestimate the humanity of art." At issue in this clever chiasmus is the lack of difference separating the human from the unhuman.