Katharine Cox
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The tattoo wakes
Sentient ink, curatorship and writing the new weird in China Miéville’s Kraken: An anatomy
in Tattoos in crime and detective narratives
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This chapter reads metaphors of ink, tattoo and tattooing in China Miéville’s Kraken as Miéville’s curatorship of the new weird, which reveals complex associations with body, place and meaning. This chapter challenges Miéville’s theorisation of the new weird and details a historically nuanced understanding of the relationship between writing, detection and tattooing in weird fiction. The weird as part of crisis-blasted modernity opens up to older, suppressed representations of the weird associated with the idea of the Kraken, the etymology of ‘weird’ and the associations of the tattoo which are active in the text. Here, the use of tattoos as a metaphor for writing highlights the body’s potential as a site to reclaim power in literature more widely, and so exceed the genres of weird and detective fiction. This chapter’s emphasis on modes of ink and tattooing can be extended and used as a means to explore contemporary ontological debates of self, embodiment and representation.

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