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Title: A critical and clinical reading of the fiction of J.G. Ballard
Author: Stevenson, Simon.
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2003
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This thesis consists of a study of the texts of the author J.G Ballard. It adopts a 'critical and dinical' approach to literature as developed in the work of the philosopher Gilles Deleuze. In this context, this involves reading Ballard's work as a diagnostic enterprise, providing a 'symptomatology' of contemporary societies and the new arrangements of social and psychic forces that they are introducing. The first of the six chapters examines a selection of Ballard's early fiction. It argues that Ballard's use of the disaster story genre allows him to generate experimental conditions for investigating the effects of alienation in a 'world without others'. This chapter also introduces some of the key themes in Deleuze's thought that will used throughout the study. The second chapter focusses largely on the novel Crash and suggests that the text sets out a new conception of desire not based on lack. In turn, this opens up a reconfiguration of the key psychoanalytic concepts of masochism and the death drive. Chapters three and four explore the terrain that Ballard has called 'inner space'. They take a cross section of Ballard's texts from the 1960s and, using Deleuze's work on cinema, demonstrate how the concept of inner space involves architecture, landscape and subjectivity in a movement of co-becoming which precedes or exceeds the division of subject and object. The remaining chapters examine Ballard's most recent work which deals with contemporary social arrangements. They highlight the 'symptoms' of fatigue, violence, sacrificial practices and internal and external surveillance which Ballard sees as endemic to these new societal formations. Both chapters conclude with a discussion of potential forms of resistance to the current situation offered in these texts in terms of the depiction of molecular-revolutionary subject groups as well as the deployment of 'terminal irony' and the powers of the false.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available