3.77 (48 ratings by Goodreads)
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We are all fascinated by the mystery of metamorphosis - of the caterpillar that transforms itself into a butterfly. Their bodies have almost nothing in common. They don't share the same world: one crawls on the ground and the other flutters its wings in the air. And yet they are one and the same life. Emanuele Coccia argues that metamorphosis - the phenomenon that allows the same life to subsist in disparate bodies - is the relationship that binds all species together and unites the living with the non-living. Bacteria, viruses, fungi, plants, animals: they are all one and the same life. Each species, including the human species, is the metamorphosis of all those that preceded it - the same life, cobbling together a new body and a new form in order to exist differently. And there is no opposition between the living and the non-living: life is always the reincarnation of the non-living, a carnival of the telluric substance of a planet - the Earth - that continually draws new faces and new ways of being out of even the smallest particle of its disparate body. By highlighting what joins humans together with other forms of life, Coccia's brilliant reflection on metamorphosis encourages us to abandon our view of the human species as static and independent and to recognize instead that we are part of a much larger and interconnected form of life.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 180 pages
  • 145 x 217 x 17mm | 292g
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1509545670
  • 9781509545674
  • 40,882

Table of contents



The Continuity of Life

The Forms Within Us

1. Births

Every Self is a Forgetting

One and the Same Life

Birth and Nature

Cosmic Twins

Giving Birth, or the Migration of Life

Carnival of the Gods

The Speech of the Earth

Metamorphosis as Destiny

Mirror of the World

2. Cocoons



Every Living Being is a Chimera

A Postnatal Egg


A New Idea of Technics

The Metamorphosis of Plants

The Cocoon of the World

3. Reincarnations

Eating and Metamorphosis

Being Eaten

Reincarnation and the Transmigration of the Self

Genetics and Reincarnation

The Shadow of the Species

4. Migrations

Planetary Migration

Vehicle Theory

The Great Ark

Everybody in the House

The Domestic Life of Non-Humans


5. Associations

The Multispecies City

Interspecies Architecture

Our Mind is Always in the Bodies of Other Species

The End of Wilderness

Contemporary Nature


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Review quote

"Emanuele Coccia defines anew the relationship between humans and nature - a fascinating inquiry, and one which we urgently need in order to open our eyes to the world around us."
Peter Wohlleben, author of The Hidden Life of Trees
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About Emanuele Coccia

Emanuele Coccia is Associate Professor at the Ecole des hautes etudes en sciences sociales (EHESS), Paris.
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Rating details

48 ratings
3.77 out of 5 stars
5 21% (10)
4 42% (20)
3 31% (15)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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