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Title: Relishing the abject : gendered identity and intertextuality in selected twentieth-century Scottish women's fiction
Author: Lin, Hsin-Ying (Alice)
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2007
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This thesis examines gender identity as explored by twentieth-century Scottish women writers: A. L. Kennedy, Emma Tennant, Elspeth Barker, Jessie Kesson, Alice Thompson and Muriel Spark. The objective of the thesis addresses the thematic and cultural significance of the ‘dangerous woman’ as she appears in twentieth-century Scottish women’s fiction. I provide fictional examples of sentimentally and sensationally based communities in my readings of selected texts and I examine how ‘pleasure’, depicted as empirically justified by conventionally ‘dangerous women’ such as sexual warrior Judith from Bible literature, is traditionally associated with the values of female masculinity as evidenced through abused gender role’s justification. I further contend that twentieth-century Scottish women writers redefine the significance of the ‘dangerous woman’ by subverting the norms of ‘pleasure’ and by depicting this pleasure, through either Gothic or fantastic manifestation, as morally dangerous and psychologically destructive. Through a Kristevian analysis of intertextuality in these selected novels I demonstrate each writer’s desire, either to soften female resistance to the symbolic (paternal) order, or to examine male desire in a consolidation of the symbolic (paternal) order. Within the domain of psychoanalysis, which addresses the external subjugated Other (gendered role of femininity) as well as the internal rejected Other (abjected maternal side of self), I explore reflexive narrative language and related philosophical implications as evidenced in female Gothic or fantastic literary forms. I propose that the characteristic features of the ‘dangerous woman’ as they appear in twentieth-century Scottish women’s fiction may be re-defined. The characteristic features of the ‘dangerous woman’ may shift from more corporeal challenges to the ‘essence’, the ‘presence’ and therefore the ‘centre’ of gender, that is, to the emotional abjection of the inherent maternal side of herself. The central argument of this thesis is that just as post-structuralism attempts to explain the subjective construction of reality, so the six authors examined here emphasise the significance of individual’s invention of reality.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available