Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Caitríona Ní Dhúill
Poetics Today
Refusing the Child: Weininger, Edelman, Kertész
Optional Fields
Futurity; dystopia; apocalypse; negation of the future
If human reproduction is a realm of future-making practice, its refusal or absence effects a reconceptualization of the future. The article examines three very different refusals of the child: the idealist antinatalism of Otto Weininger's Sex and Character (1903), the queer refusal of reproductive futurism in Lee Edelman's No Future (2004), and the negation of the thinkability of fatherhood through the trauma of Auschwitz in Imre Kertész's Kaddish for a Child Not Born (1990). The complexity and incommensurability of the critical stances of antireproductive antifuturism articulated in these texts make it necessary to reconsider any overly simplistic or affirmative alignment of “the child” with “the future.” The nonreproductive (non)futures the texts variously envisage call on us to think instead in terms of multiple possible meanings that can inhere in refusals of the child — whether in the asceticist-misogynist, queer, or catastrophic mode.
Durham, NC
Grant Details
Supported by the Institute of Advanced Study, Durham University