Postscript, Posthuman: Werner Herzog’s “Crocodile” at the End of the World

  • Dominic O’Key
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Animals and Literature book series (PSAAL)


This chapter explores posthumanism, inscription, technics, and futurity in Werner Herzog’s 3D documentary Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010). Specifically, I discuss the relationship between the film’s preoccupation with paleoart and the birth of humanity on the one side and its representation of the nonhuman animal on the other. I argue, first, that Cave of Forgotten Dreams ends with an animal biography. Herzog’s postscript pivots away from his film’s documentary style and narrates a speculative fiction: a posthuman future in which supposedly mutated albino crocodiles outlive humanity. And I argue, second, that this animal biography discloses the technical interpenetration of human and nonhuman life. By putting Herzog’s film in conversation with the work of Georges Bataille, Bernard Stiegler, and Jacques Derrida, I demonstrate how even this posthuman postscript is not post-script. The “script” of humanity survives its own destruction and lives on in the irradiated bodies of Herzog’s crocodiles.


Werner Herzog Posthumanism Technics Documentary Georges Bataille Bernard Stiegler 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dominic O’Key
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeedsLeedsUK

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