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Sending Levinas to Where the Wild Things Are

What would happen if Emmanuel Levinas sailed across an ocean to an island where ‘Wild Things’ lived? I fear Levinas’ story would turn out not much different than Max’s adventure in Spike Jonze’s cinematic adaptation of the iconic children’s classic, “Where the Wild Things Are.” Wild Things are uniquely and absolutely Other. They overflow and escape our categories of representation. As such, Wild Things solicit a spontaneous and singular response; one without prior preparation. For who could anticipate the epiphany of a Wild Thing? We might suspect that Levinas would be perfectly suited to “existing in a world of alien things” as his own rhetoric suggests, but Levinas does not travel all too well on Wild Thing tours.1

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