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Title: Maladies of the modern soul : Kristeva, Lawrence and the post-metaphysical subject
Author: Lee, B. W.
Awarding Body: University of Wales Swansea
Current Institution: Swansea University
Date of Award: 2005
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This thesis situates some letters, novels and essays by D.H. Lawrence within a frame of Julia Kristeva’s later-period ideas (from Powers of Horror onwards) about the modern subject experiencing an oedipal crisis of identity, coextensive with the loss of faith in cultural metaphysical discourse. In it, I identify a number of key Kristevan themes and perspectives: symbolist aesthetics, adolescent psychology, sacred logic, amorous discourse and, in the last chapter, a nexus of foreignness, fascism and homosexuality. In doing so, I often take a somewhat oblique approach to Kristeva’s “abject” discourse, which then feeds into my readings of Lawrence. For example, I conflate Kristeva’s semiological account of the adolescent psyche with Anna Freud’s seminal study of the biological adolescent, and view Lawrence accordingly. This interlacing of oedipal and pre-oedipal theory offers an innovative aetiology in regard to Kristeva, while it reflects my emphasis throughout the thesis on the artist’s borderline crisis, rather than, as is more typical in Kristevan criticism, affirming the poetic imaginary. Similarly, I conflate Kristeva’s account of the psychological equivalence of fascism and modern art with Klaus Theweleit’s censuring analysis of fascist texts. This generates an ethical and historical register for Lawrence’s para-fascist expressions, within my exploration of the semiotics of the abject text. Kristeva never mentions Lawrence, while this thesis is unique as a full-length juxtaposition of a major and much-analysed modernist and a crucial postmodern-analytic theorist. My hope is that its operation within the fields of literary studies and linguistic psychoanalysis will stimulate wider academic interest in negotiating the two writers. My Conclusion, which elaborates Kristeva’s own discourse as a product of unconscious phantasy, gestures ahead to a proposed comparative study. I end the thesis by speculating about its implication with my own, possibly abject, phantasy, while insisting on the validity of the production.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available