Journal Article

Otherwise than <i>Being John Malkovich</i>: Incarnating the Name of God

William Young

in Literature and Theology

Volume 18, issue 1, pages 95-108
Published in print March 2004 | ISSN: 0269-1205
Published online March 2004 | e-ISSN: 1477-4623 | DOI:
Otherwise than Being John Malkovich: Incarnating the Name of God

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In Being John Malkovich, the human struggle for recognition and self-consciousness leads to destruction, emptiness, and ultimately solitude. By contrast, Elijah, the chimpanzee, finds his freedom and healing in being for the other. This discovery lets one reconsider the relationship between language, embodiment, and responsibility in Emmanuel Levinas' work. As speech and language disclose the infinitude of responsibility—its unfolding within finite sensibility and embodiment—Elijah's actions help untie the enigmatic knot in Levinas' philosophy regarding language and animality, responsibly reading the body of his texts in an attempt to unite ethics and truth.

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Subjects: Literature ; Religion and Art, Literature, and Music

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