In Telling Flesh , Vicki Kirby addresses what may be the major theoretical issue in both the social sciences and feminist theory, namely the nature/culture dualism. Her particular focus is on postmodern approaches to corporeality. Kirby explores how these approaches look at the body in terms of meaning, and she argues that they result in the assumption that language is an enclosed domain and the materiality of the body a constructed artifact. Kirby examines the implications of this assumption in the work of Jane Gallop, Judith Butler, and Drucilla Cornell, as well as in recent cyber-criticism. She argues that their notion of culture does not, as they intended, disrupt the conservative implications of the nature/culture division. Instead, nature and culture contrive to haunt their work in the form of an undeclared fear of the flesh.
"The strength of "Telling Flesh lies in Kirby's keen diagnostic eye. She has an amazing grasp of the intricacies of complex theoretical positions in contemporary cultural studies and she follows them through tenaciously.
I was most impressed by Vicki Kirby's sophisticated critical analysis of some of the most widely used but least understood concepts in deconstruction, psychoanalysis, linguistics, poststructuralism, pheonomenology, and feminine theory."
-Gail Weiss "Hypatia