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Title: Cynical cosmopolitans? : Borges, Beckett, Coetzee
Author: Rose, Arthur James
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2014
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The thesis argues for a form of kynical cosmopolitanism in the late work of Jorge Luis Borges, Samuel Beckett and J.M. Coetzee. Broadly sympathetic responses to these three writers conflate their writing style and their personal habits, and identify them as stoics. Broadly unsympathetic responses conflate their choice of theme and their apparent political quietude, and identify them as cynics. Instead of finding them aligned with stoicism or contemporary cynicism, the thesis draws on work by Peter Sloterdijk and Michel Foucault to recuperate kynicism (ancient cynicism) as a heuristic to explain how the writers consciously exploit a combination of style, theme, habit and political perspective in their late works. The late works of all three writers turn on a performance of the self that takes autobiographical enactment as the starting point for exploring political subjectivity. Following Diogenes of Sinope, who labelled this performative political subjectivity ‘cosmopolitanism’, this thesis argues that the late works of Borges, Beckett and Coetzee must be understood as creating a self-reflexive kynical cosmopolitanism, in which the role of the writer in the world becomes an aesthetic device for engaging with cosmopolitan political subjectivity.
Supervisor: Durrant, S. ; Nicholls, B. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available