Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS: http://ethos.bl.uk/OrderDetails.do?uin=uk.bl.ethos.715568
Title: Narrative constructions of female identity after suicide
Author: Okan, Olgaokan
Awarding Body: University of Birmingham
Current Institution: University of Birmingham
Date of Award: 2017
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Abstract:
This thesis weaves together two central themes in the analysis of literary suicide: writing and gender. In particular, it looks at different interpretations of the suicides of Eleanor Marx, Virginia Woolf, Sylvia Plath and Sarah Kane. Apart from being writers who committed suicide, these women share a common interest in suicide as a subject matter in their writings. Especially in the cases of Woolf and Plath, their iconic status as literary suicides has often blurred the distinction between fact and fiction in the studies of their life and work. Furthermore, they have become case studies in the fields of psychology/psychiatry which discuss creativity in relation to mental illness. In this thesis, I take into account the connotations of literary suicide in different fields of study and synthesize an interdisciplinary approach with a focus on gender. Drawing on Judith Butler’s theory of performativity and Katrina Jaworski’s adaptation of it to suicide, I explore suicide as a social and historical construct. The thesis traces the subject formation of suicide through textual analysis of primary sources (including fiction, biographies and print media) and considers suicide notes, newspaper reports, obituaries and letters as the first narrative constructions of suicidal identity. Initial reactions to these suicides show a highly gendered understanding. However, the multiple narratives that follow reflect changes in the discourse of suicide. The thesis analyses the narratives of suicide written by the authors in relation to dominant discourses of suicide, the self and gender. The examination of the writers’ own work demonstrates that Marx, Woolf, Plath and Kane were in most cases writing against the dominant discourses of suicide.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID: uk.bl.ethos.715568  DOI: Not available
Keywords: B Philosophy (General) ; HQ The family. Marriage. Woman ; HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare ; PR English literature
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