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Abstract affections : form and accompaniment in A void, Next and American psycho

Author: Andrew Wilson; La Trobe University.
Publisher: 2005.
Dissertation: Thesis (Ph.D.) -- La Trobe University, 2005.
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Database:WorldCat
Summary:
This thesis explores interactions between the formal qualities of three experimental novels and the experiences of their characters. When the interactions are mimetic our ability to accompany and develop affection for the characters is enriched, but when they are not the formal qualities can direct us towards more abstract concerns within and beyond the novels. I will focus upon the relation between mimetic and  Read more...
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Details

Genre/Form: Criticism, interpretation, etc
Named Person: Georges Perec; Christine Brooke-Rose; Bret Easton Ellis; Christine Brooke-Rose; Bret Easton Ellis; Georges Perec
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Andrew Wilson; La Trobe University.
OCLC Number: 741556273
Notes: Research.
"A thesis submitted in total fulfilment of the requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy [to the] School of Communication, Arts and Critical Enquiry, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, La Trobe University, Bundoora".
Description: 243 leaves ; 30 cm.
Responsibility: submitted by Andrew Wilson.

Abstract:

This thesis explores interactions between the formal qualities of three experimental novels and the experiences of their characters. When the interactions are mimetic our ability to accompany and develop affection for the characters is enriched, but when they are not the formal qualities can direct us towards more abstract concerns within and beyond the novels. I will focus upon the relation between mimetic and abstract formal effects and have chosen each novel because of the intricate way in which it entangles these. Georges Perec's A Void demonstrates how perilous a rigid interpretation of form's mimetic effect can be for the characters, but the novel rescues readers by directing them towards a host of more abstract formal effects which emphasise innovation rather than mimesis. A Void thereby asserts the importance of separating these two types of formal effect. I will, however, experiment with ways of using the abstract effects to create a new type of appreciation of character. Christine Brooke-Rose's Next generates formal effects which seem abstract because they frustrate our access to character, but these can often be reconceptualised as means of representing the experiences of the marginalised characters. The formal qualities of Next also create an abstract set of relations which increase our understanding of the notion of accompaniment itself and thereby heighten our appreciation of the themes of the novel. Bret Easton Ellis' American Psycho focuses upon a character whose self-centred perspective functions like a formal quality which limits our access to the narrative. While this perspective is emblematic of the superficiality of Bateman's world, it also occasionally enables moments of meditative withdrawal which provide an alternative to that world. Yet even as such moments distinguish Bateman from the superficiality of his surroundings, they produce the type of detachment which can be used to sanction his horrific behaviour. Consequently, Bateman provides a warning against over-indulging an abstract perspective. These synopses show that while abstract formal effects can separate readers from character they may also assist readers to develop creative responses to character. This thesis aims to negotiate that fine line between an innovative and an insensitive response to literary form.

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