This essay uses an animal studies perspective to situate Tracy Letts's 1996 play Bug at a particularly fraught and complex moment in the long history of an "insect imaginary," which has variously registered and managed humans' intense ambivalence toward insects. The complexity includes a dawning recognition - alongside a reluctant admission - that insect species may not be as alien as we have traditionally styled them. In Bug, as in a variety of other recent insect representations, a revisioning of the insect imaginary is linked to a digitally inflected post-humanism in which decentered intelligence and distributed agency offer a welcome alternative to individualistic - selfcentered - modes of political and artistic expression.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Visual Arts and Performing Arts
- Literature and Literary Theory