Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Master's Thesis

Degree Name




Committee Chair

Ridley, Glynis Batey

Author's Keywords

Linnaeus; Carolus; Frankenstein; Never let me go; Ishiguro; Kazuo; Buffon; Le comte de; Foucault; Michel


Human beings in literature; Humanity in literature; Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft, 1797-1851. Frankenstein; Ishiguro, Kazuo, 1954-. Never let me go


“Two Machines Similarly Constructed”: Humanity Between Apes and Clones explores the development of scientific taxonomies of difference and the proliferation and evolution of the definition of the “human.” A focus on Enlightenment naturalists’ texts and images of apes reveals how these scientists defined the human “difference” and lends to Michel Foucault’s archaeology of the invention of “man.” This establishes the concept of a classifying discourse and argues that a narrative of human exceptionalism pervaded subsequent ideas of progress and civilization. Analyses of two texts, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go, develop a discussion of how the authors present non-humans and clones that complicate the definition of the “human” and incorporate resistance to the classifying discourse’s singular way of understanding the natural order. An investigation of the development of Homo sapiens’s “difference” locates examples of classifying humans and non-humans; this project examines how authors and scientists resist strict exclusions and classifications in a larger, more all-encompassing consideration of the “human condition.”