NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ945224
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Dec
Pages: 17
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 34
ISSN: ISSN-0045-6713
"Clockwork": Philip Pullman's Posthuman Fairy Tale
Gooding, Richard
Children's Literature in Education, v42 n4 p308-324 Dec 2011
This article examines the connections between posthumanism and narrative form in Philip Pullman's "Clockwork." Beginning with an account of Pullman's materialism, it argues that the novel represents consciousness and agency as emergent properties of matter, a position that manifests itself first in the tale's figurative language and later in the cybernetic inventions of Dr. Kalmenius. As Pullman effaces the boundaries between animate and inanimate, human and non-human, he generates uncanny effects that are best understood in terms of the posthuman condition and narrative modes that reject liberal humanist models of subjectivity. "Clockwork's" uncanny elements, metafictive qualities, and distribution of narrative voice across multiple perspectives thus represent narrative accommodations demanded by the tale's rejection of the Cartesian mind/body dualism that grounds the liberal humanist subject. "Clockwork's" acceptance of the posthuman condition is, however, incomplete and anxiety-laden, and the fairy-tale transformation of Prince Florian at the end of the novel represents a partial recuperation of liberal humanist morality.
Springer. 233 Spring Street, New York, NY 10013. Tel: 800-777-4643; Tel: 212-460-1500; Fax: 212-348-4505; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A