The Headless Man
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The book-length prose poem The Headless Man takes up Georges Bataille's subversive image of the acéphale and turns him into an outsider "everyman" to explore the paradoxes of identity, the body, and desire. This oddly fractured tale centres the monster, both human and inhuman, recognizable yet strange, in a labyrinth of experience. The Headless Man awakens in a place that, although based on our own world, is unfamiliar to him. Moving through this strange landscape, he must make sense of it through his actions, striving to determine whether there is a place for him in a world not made in his image, or whether he must imagine something different in order to be. Having no head, he cannot speak, see, or hear in the usual ways, so he must learn to do these things using other parts of his body-which leads him to a fuller sense of himself. In this gothic, picaresque narrative, laced with horror and humour, Montreal surrealist Peter Dubé addresses his concern with queer challenges to identity and sexual boundaries, exploring questions about insider and outsider, what constitutes the "normal," and what is relegated to the realm of the "monstrous."