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Type: Thesis
Title: The post - expressivist turn : four American novels and the author - function
Author: Caldicott, Mark
Issue Date: 2005
School/Discipline: School of Humanities
Abstract: " The Post - Expressivist Turn : Four American Novels and the Author - Function " proposes a model of the author - function as a " diagnostic " tool. An " author - centred " mode of critique can interrogate the hegemonic narrative of liberal humanism, or " liberal modernity ", in Western culture. The argument in this thesis proceeds from the recognition that the hegemonic convention of the author in contemporary Western culture ( that is, the " expressivist " convention of the author ) has been disarmed of its claims to ideological innocence and commonsensicality. This thesis utilises the insights of poststructuralism, specifically the discourse theory of the French philosopher Michel Foucault, to deploy a new model of the author - function which foregrounds the ideological and discursive precepts that the expressivist model of the author has been assumed to transcend. The thesis examines four novels : The Bostonians by Henry James, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, V. by Thomas Pynchon, and Democracy by Joan Didion. Taken together, these encompass a hundred - year trajectory defined by the literary schools of late realism ( The Bostonians ), modernism ( The Great Gatsby ), late modernism ( V. ), and postmodernism ( Democracy ). Each of these novels is deployed as a stage in a cumulative trajectory which foregrounds a " post - expressivist " operation of the author. This post - expressivist model of the author presumes no claims to epistemological self - evidence or commonsensicality. Consequently, the author - function in each of these novels is freed from its traditionally displaced, reified position in the cultural milieu. Instead, the author is re - engaged in the Western body politic as a discursively - situated material event. It is this discursive engagedness which once more installs the author as a productive diagnostic, as a productive means of interrogation of the hegemony of liberal modernity. This is effected through an interrogation by this post - expressivist author - model of the perceived efficacy of the project of American liberal humanism as a basis for the realisation of a democratic, rational utopia. In tracing a progressive denaturalisation of the author as an extra - contextual function ( The Bostonians ), through to a foregrounding of the author as an enunciative function ( Democracy ), this thesis delineates an " author - centred " model of critique relative to a trajectory that recognises the position of pre - eminence still enjoyed by the author in late - capitalist Western culture.
Advisor: Driscoll, Catherine
Dissertation Note: Thesis (Ph.D.)--School of Humanities, 2005.
Keywords: Amercian literature
Appears in Collections:Research Theses

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