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Title: A poetics of chaos : schizoanalysis and post modern American fiction
Author: Benzon, K.
Awarding Body: University College London (University of London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2007
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In "A Poetics of Chaos: Schizoanalysis and Postmodern American Fiction," I use theories from physics and psychoanalysis together to explore narrative structures in recent American fiction. Chaos theory, which emerged in mathematical and biological discourses in the 1960s, postulates the intrinsic instability and unpredictability of many natural and physical phenomena. Theorists like Bertalanffy, Mandelbrot and Lorenz produced a vocabulary to account for these pervasive systems. In assessing historical, economic and, indeed, literary systems, we may draw terms from chaotic inquiry: bifurcation, fractal, moebial, reiteration, complexity, butterfly effect, strange attractors, and sensitive dependence upon initial conditions. '"Chaotic narratives*" may explicitly deploy (Barth, Pynchon, Gibson) or inadvertently express (Coover, Ondaatje, Powers) the structural features of chaotic systems. Such writing is characterized by a diffusion of linear chronology, as well as ontological and narrative fracture, repetition and variation. Literary theorists N. Katherine Hayles, Joseph Conte, Hanjo Berressem and others have discussed how chaotic scientific and psycho-social systems are not only invoked in contemporary literature, but are themselves the structural and philosophical underpinnings of postmodern culture. My thesis builds upon chaotic-literary criticism by investigating the psychological implications of "chaotic narratives." Drawing from the anti-deterministic "schizoanalysis" of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari, I explain how writings by Don DeLillo, Paul Auster, David Foster Wallace and Mark Z. Danielewski perform and reflect the "orderly disorder" of psychic development. I advance the term "psychochaotics*' to describe a theoretical approach that uses principles from chaos theory to reveal the psychodynamic systems in postmodern fiction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available