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Title: Encountering theory : readings in contemporary American fiction.
Author: Gillan, Lindsey.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3499 9930
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 1999
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This thesis gathers four American fiction writers from the group labelled as blank fiction writers during the 1980s - Lynne Tillman, Kathy Acker, Joel Rose and Catherine Texier - to suggest that their work does more than represent the flat, stunned prose attributed to blank fiction. Rather, their simple, streetwise yet often lyrical language is politically engaged, debating profound questions about the nature of identity, both of the indi vidual and of the text. The writing, while superficially transparent, is illusory, reflecting the belief that meaning is contextual: this has wide-reaching implications for textuality since the borders of meaning and of the text are contested. While the differences in form and style of these writers are evident, their focus upon the links between language, memory and identity within particular historico-cultural contexts show that they all have interests in the politics of language. The characterisation and narratives of their texts are infused with a degree of self-reflexivity that demonstrates a recognition of their own instability and their contingency upon contexts beyond as well as within the textual borders. By focusing upon the limitations of language to discuss or express identity and memory in concrete terms, these writers ask philosophical and political questions that arguably stand apart from the amoral prose of other writers of blank fiction such as Brett Easton Ellis and Dennis Cooper. Their texts address issues of identity regarding gender, sexuality, race, class, ethnicity and poverty while emphasizing that they cannot be divorced from purely philosophical questions about the nature of being and its relationship to language. Yet these writers move beyond postmodern debates about textuali ty to explore the limits of fiction within the wider cultural contexts of writing at the end of the twentieth century.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Blank fiction; Identity; Textuality