Dr Chris Danta

Senior Lecturer
BA (ANU), BA (hons) (Melbourne), PhD. (Monash)
School of the Arts & Media, Centre for Modernism Studies in Australia

Contact

+61 2 9385 2282
+61 2 9385 6812
Room 211, Level 2, Robert Webster
Kensington Campus
Fields: British and Irish Literature, Comparative Literature Studies
Tags: Languages and Literature

My research operates at the intersection of literary theory, philosophy, science and theology. My first book Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot theorizes the idea of literature in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot based on the treatment by these writers of the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. I have co-edited two collections of essays on the recent fiction of J. M. Coetzee and a special issue of the journal SubStance on the "Political Animal". I have published articles on Kierkegaard, Kafka, Blanchot, Coetzee, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jane Austen in international peer-reviewed journals such as Textual PracticeLiterature & TheologyNew Literary HistorySubStanceAngelaki and Modernism/modernity.

I have recently completed a book that emerges from an ARC-funded Discovery project on the evolution of the animal fable after Darwin. Animal Fables after Darwin: Literature, Speciesism, and Metaphor will be published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. The book demonstrates how the rise of the biological sciences in the second half of the nineteenth century provides literary writers such as Stevenson, H. G. Wells, T. F. Powys, David Garnett, Franz Kafka and J. M. Coetzee with new material for the fable, new ways to exploit the grotesque comparison of human and ape. After Darwin, it claims, certain writers turn to the beast fable to express a new kind of biological existentialism that problematizes traditional philosophical and theological conceptions of the human by thinking the human predominantly in relation to its biological milieu.

Research

I did a BA at ANU, received honours in English at the University of Melbourne, before completing a PhD. in Comparative Literature at Monash University. From 2009-2011, I was an ARC Postdoctoral Fellow. I am currently a senior lecturer in English at UNSW.

My research operates at the intersection of literary theory, philosophy, science and theology. My first book Literature Suspends Death: Sacrifice and Storytelling in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot theorizes the idea of literature in Kierkegaard, Kafka and Blanchot based on the treatment by these writers of the sacrifice of Isaac in Genesis 22. I have co-edited two collections of essays on the recent fiction of J. M. Coetzee and a special issue of the journal SubStance on the "Political Animal". I have published articles on Kierkegaard, Kafka, Blanchot, Coetzee, H.G. Wells, Robert Louis Stevenson and Jane Austen in international peer-reviewed journals such as Textual Practice, Literature & Theology, New Literary History, SubStance, Angelaki and Modernism/modernity

I have recently completed a book that emerges from an ARC-funded Discovery project on the evolution of the animal fable after Darwin. Animal Fables after Darwin: Literature, Speciesism, and Metaphor will be published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press. The book demonstrates how the rise of the biological sciences in the second half of the nineteenth century provides literary writers such as Stevenson, H. G. Wells, T. F. Powys, David Garnett, Franz Kafka and J. M. Coetzee with new material for the fable, new ways to exploit the grotesque comparison of human and ape. After Darwin, it claims, certain writers turn to the beast fable to express a new kind of biological existentialism that problematizes traditional philosophical and theological conceptions of the human by thinking the human predominantly in relation to its biological milieu.

Publications

    Books

    Book Chapters

    • Danta C, 2014, 'Derrida: Derrida and the test of secrecy', in Interpreting Abraham: Journeys to Moriah, pp. 187 - 209
    • Danta C;Groth H, 2014, 'Introduction: Between Minds', in Danta C; Groth H (ed.), Mindful Aesthetics: Literature and the Science of Mind, edn. 1, Bloomsbury, New York, pp. 1 - 14, http://dx.doi.org/10.5040/9781472543707
    • Danta C, 2013, 'Animal Bachelors and Animal Brides: Fabulous Metamorphosis in Kafka and Garnett', in Moran B; Salzani C (ed.), Philosophy and Kafka, edn. Original, Lexington Books, Lanham, pp. 123 - 140
    • Danta C, 2012, '"The cold illucid world": The Poetics of Gray in Cormac McCarthy's The Road', in Murphet J; Steven M (ed.), Styles of Extinction: Cormac McCarthy's The Road, edn. Original, Continuum, New York, pp. 9 - 26
    • Danta C, 2011, 'Introduction J.M. Coetzee: The Janus Face of Authority', in Danta C; Kossew S; Murphet J (ed.), Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction, edn. Original, Continuum, London and New York, pp. xi - xx
    • Danta C, 2011, 'The Melancholy Ape: Coetzee's Fables of Animal Finitude', in Danta C; Kossew S; Murphet J (ed.), Strong Opinions: J.M. Coetzee and the Authority of Contemporary Fiction, edn. Original, Continuum, London and New York, pp. 125 - 140
    • Danta C, 2011, 'Revolution at a Distance: Jane Austen and Personalised History', in Russo S; Napton D; Cousins AD (ed.), The French Revolution and the British Novel in the Romantic Period, edn. Original, Peter Lang, New York and Oxford, pp. 137 - 152
    • Danta C, 2008, 'The Animal Substitutes', in Lloyd F (ed.), The Finlay Lloyd Book About Animals, edn. Original, Finlay Lloyd Publishers, Braidwood, NSW, pp. 87 - 97
    • Danta C, 2005, '`The Absolutely Dark Moment of the Plot`: Blanchot`s Abraham', in HIll L; Nelson B; Vardoulakis D (ed.), After Blanchot: Literature, Criticism, Philosophy, edn. First, Univesity of Delaware Press, Newark, pp. 205 - 221

    Journal articles

    Conference Presentations

    • Danta C, 2008, 'The Scientific Ape: Robert Louis Stevenson and the Post-Darwinian Fable', presented at RLS 2008, Bergamo, Italy, 12 - 13 July 2007
    • Danta C, 2005, 'Transuming Abraham: Fear and Trembling and the Poetics of Identification', presented at 1st International Kierkegaard in Asia Conference, University of Melbourne, 01 December 2005
    • Danta C, 2004, 'The Absolutely Dark Moment of the Plot', presented at Blanchot’s Abraham, International Colloquium: “Blanchot, the Obscure”, 01 January 2004

Teaching

I mainly teach 19th and 20th century English literature. At UNSW, I have taught Introduction to Literary Genre; 19th Century Prose; The English Canon; Modernism and Modernity; Jane Austen in Context; Crime Fiction, Theatre and Film.

I am currently convening ARTS 3049: Literary Animals, Monsters and Machines

Affiliations and membership

UNSW Research Committee
MLA