Daniel Kasper responds to Rithika Ramamurthy
I love Rithika Ramamurthy’s point about the political possibilities that Steinlight opens up with Populating the Novel. I am also drawn in my work to the possibilities that are available to the individual actor within the confines of ideological control, and Foucault’s later work on biopolitics—which takes up the possibility of human choice and agency—is the driving engine behind Steinlight’s thesis. It’s especially salient in terms of those characters who seem to be exploiting the contradictory logics of the governing state in order to escape from those governing principles: Frankenstein’s creature and Lady Audley. Frankenstein is incapable of stopping the creature from breeding—and therefore gaining the power to override the current human hegemony—due to the creature’s own impossible stature as an individual body made up of a mass of bodies. That Lady Audley contains within her own frame the masses of redundant women is also the reason why she cannot be truly contained within disciplinary mechanisms, only shifted from place to place and name to name. Perhaps the way into political freedom is to likewise exploit our own massifying logics. Rather than, say, queer people replicating the heteronormative marriage plot, the secret is to drop out of those demographic concerns of marriage and child-rearing altogether? Perhaps in becoming one of the masses that a subject is defined to, one’s lack of definition is what allows one to escape the liberal logic of the juridical subject.