In this project, I focus on the function of the “amtal,” or test of definition or destruction, in Frank Herbert's Dune. It is my argument that these tests “to destruction” determine not only the limits or defects of the person being tested, but also—and more crucially—the very limits and defects of the definition of humanity in three specific cultural spheres within the novel: the Bene Gesserit, the Fremen, and the Faufreluches. The definitions of “amtal” as well as “humanity,” like all definitions, are somewhat fluid, changing depending on usage, cultural context, and the political and social needs of the society which uses them. Accordingly, Dune remains an instructive text for thinking through contemporary and controversial notions about the limits of humanism and, consequently, of animalism and posthumanism.
|Commitee:||Mason, Julia, Scroggins, Mark|
|School:||Florida Atlantic University|
|School Location:||United States -- Florida|
|Source:||MAI 52/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Modern literature, American literature|
|Keywords:||Animal studies and animalism, Dune, Herbert, Frank, Humanism and posthumanism, Science fiction, Test of definition or destruction|
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