S./N. (Próba autoetnograficznej lektury eseju Jolanty Brach-Czainy)

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This essay, oscillating around Jolanta Brach-Czaina’s short story entitled S., offers a contextual reading that takes into account the philosopher’s reflections from her various texts on inter-species kinship, which are problematic today. The overriding point of reference for this approach is the ethical perspective inherent to post-anthropocentric studies. Questions about the intricacies of human-animal relationships are at the center of my considerations. While Brach-Czaina’s enigmatic text questions the efficacy of communication with the so-called companion species and their agency, or even subjectivity, it is also exceptionally accurate in identifying the usually tabooed ambivalences of the experience of care, especially those related to the crisis-induced sense of doubt or powerlessness, and being overwhelmed with responsibility and abnegation, which substantially weaken or re-evaluate intimacy. As a result, on the one hand, S. proves to be an exceptional testimony of the essayist’s struggle with her own ambiguous attitude towards animals; on the other hand, it provokes reflection on possible reconfigurations of inter-species relationships. Such considerations are inscribed in the framework of the autoethnographic narration dedicated to the terminal illness of the author’s cat.