There is wide scholarly agreement that Outer Dark is, by and large, a tale whose nihilism and ambiguities offer little philosophical or anthropological insight beyond a masterful rumination on the darkly paradoxical nature of human existence. While such interpretations are compelling, a careful reading of the novel's central theme of incest shows that Outer Dark offers an alternative, productive account of human nature and community. More specifically, McCarthy's text explores the ways in which community formation requires an always violent logic of inclusion and exclusion, this logic creating the very bodies and communities it claims merely to classify. This power to create bodies and communities shows that, for McCarthy, the possibility for human difference, for humans to be something new, remains always in play. Hence, our article concludes that in the figure of Rinthy, McCarthy gives us an alternative conception of human life, a proto-posthumanism that might offer a way through the totalizing and dehumanizing structures of modern society.

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