Adventures in Malley Country: Concerning Peter Carey's <em>My Life as a Fake<em/>

Main Article Content

Ross Chambers


Contemporary anxieties around cloning and genetic modification have deep roots in a nineteenth- and twentieth-century tradition of narrative thought-experiments about the artificial reproduction of human life. In the ‘strange wickedness’ to which HG Wells’s narrator refers—as good a condensation of the tradition’s topic as any—strangeness has always been as prominent as wickedness. In that tradition the myths of Prometheus and Faust, of the golem and the doppelgänger, together with fables and fictions concerning automata and scientifically produced monsters and/or reflections on the real and the illusory, have con- verged to define a problematics of the sorcerer’s apprentice. We will see that such a problematics reflects a powerful fear of artifice, or more accurately a phobia: a fear of artifice as great as the attraction it also exerts.

Article Details

Articles (Peer Reviewed)
Author Biography

Ross Chambers, Independent Scholar

ROSS CHAMBERS is retired from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, where he taught French and comparative literature. His most recent book is Untimely Interventions: AIDS, Writing, Testi- monial and the Rhetoric of Haunting (University of Michigan Press, 2004). It attempts a rhetorical-cultural theory of testimonial as aftermath, or survival, writing.