The Republic of Objects: Prolegomena to an Object-Oriented Reading of A Tour on the Prairies
This article has two purposes. First, it attempted to introduce ‘flat ontology’ and ‘withdrawal’, two of many concepts of object-oriented ontology (OOO), as effective intellectual devices to dissect a literary text, especially in order to investigate the complexity of contacts between/among various existences on a horizontal surface. Second, it examined how the narrator of A Tour on the Prairies, one of the underappreciated texts of Washington Irving, gradually begins to doubt the naive human/nonhuman binary and broadens his horizons through an encounter with another object, wild bees in this case. In conclusion, it demonstrated that, when read from an object- oriented outlook, this text proved to offer a rich world in which every single object acts and exists on its own right, and thus to entice its readers to rethink humans’ position within the ‘republic of objects’.