Nonhuman and Human Agencies in Djuna Barnes's Fiction
Reading fiction makes us face all kinds of situations, characters and phenomena that we might consider strange and uncanny, yet enchanting and immersive. This way, it also puts us face to face with the nonhuman in its various forms. Some fictional encounters with the nonhuman may become accentuated and even disturbing, especially ones in which the nonhuman presents itself as profoundly entangled with what we consider as human, which entails elements such as agency based on individual subjectivity, psychologically motivated actions, and capacity for interpretation and understanding. Such entanglements are in no way specific to thematically experiential, generic niches such as science fiction and fantasy, but can also be encountered in, say, modernist prose, as this essay will show.