The Department of English and Creative Writing will host the next Research Seminar:
Hannah Stark and Tim Laurie, After the Love Plot: Gendered Anticoupling and the Species Boundary in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster (2015)
Friday 28 October 2016
For further information, contact Phil Butterss
This paper seeks to develop a philosophical account of love beyond what Laurent Berlant calls the ‘love plot’ of heterosexual romance. Focusing on the banal violence of coerced coupling and the symmetrical violence of those who oppose coupledom in Yorgos Lanthimos’ The Lobster (2015), the paper interrogates the concept of romantic love in three ways. Firstly, it examines the reorganisation of the bodily habitus both through compulsory rituals of courtship, and through atomised practices of self-cultivation oriented against romantic sentimentality. Secondly, the paper examines practices of boundary-making between private and public spaces, focusing on the gendering of privacy and intimacy in both The Lobster and Lanthimos’ earlier film, Dogtooth (2009). Finally, the paper explores the status of species-being and sexual dimorphism in relation to the non-human animals in Lanthimos’ work, and in doing so links contemporary scholarship on more-than-human intimacies with feminist critiques of political community formation and the heteronormative production of sexual outsiders. Throughout, the paper draws on key concepts from the work of Gilles Deleuze, Felix Guattari and Donna Haraway to tease out alternative understandings of “love” as a collective practice, while remaining attentive to the practical challenges of coupling cultures in everyday life.