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Title: Heterotopic space in selected works of J.G. Ballard
Author: Duffy, Christopher James
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 4943
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2015
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J. G. Ballard’s writing confronts the potentiality of space within the contemporary landscape, articulating complex relationships between the external environment and the individual. In 1983, Ballard stated: ‘[…] the sort of architectural spaces we inhabit are enormously important -- they are powerful. If every member of the human race were to vanish, our successors from another planet could reconstitute the psychology of the people on this planet from its architecture.’ Ballard’s texts are at all times bounded by a materiality which the reader is obliged to pay close attention to. This thesis takes a distinct approach to the spatial in the work of Ballard by concentrating on the external, physical environment and its psychological effects. It uses Michel Foucault’s concept of heterotopia as a theoretical underpinning to describe certain of Ballard’s spaces, a term richly generative for a number of reasons. Heterotopias are other spaces, off-centre with respect to the normal and everyday. They modify space in some way, drawing out latent possibilities. Ballard’s representations of space operate in a similar manner, from early short stories that contrast the quotidian with the fantastic, to investigations of postcivil society reconfiguring criminality in his final novels. This study approaches Ballard’s work in a chronological way, in order to reflect the way in which his heterotopic spaces map changing social conditions. This also enables consideration of Ballard’s developing textual spaces, and, following Foucault’s definition of disturbing literary heterotopias that destroy in advance syntax holding words and things together, Ballard’s unsettling of genre and traditional narrative structures will be examined along with the resistance of Ballard’s texts to easy categorisation and critical assimilation. Ultimately, in this thesis I argue that the spatial is a vital critical category for understanding Ballard’s work, conceiving him as an explorer of complex heterotopic space and writer of disruptive heterotopic literature.
Supervisor: Brown, Richard Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available