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Title: Looking-glass analysis : reading 'Alice' through the portmanteau and the virtual
Author: Meseguer, Alicia Z.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2680 5130
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2009
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This thesis is a psycho-analysis working backwards: beginning with biographical details, it analyses the peculiar brilliance of Carroll's works as inventions which allow him to master his psychic conflict. An acute, perfect equilibrium of desire and morality is understood as underlying Carroll's paralysis as a social and speaking subject (his stutter, his celibacy). The extraordinary genius of the Alice books is seen as the result of a creative overcoming of this conflict, rather than merely an expression of unconscious desires. The thesis takes its bearings from a detailed exploration of two aspects of Carroll's work: the virtual and the portmanteau. In tracing the etymology and senses of the term 'virtual', I uncover and deploy a new definition in which the 'virtual' refers simultaneously to desire and to the morality which prohibits it. Reading Carroll from this new perspective, the portmanteau emerges as virtual in both form and effect. The portmanteau collapses two or more words together in a way that refuses to grant priority. It is then read as a triumphant refusal to disturb the perfect balance of Carroll's psychic conflict. This use of the virtual is conversely, virtually a portmanteau, that is: 'in essence or effect, although not formally or actually' ('virtual' sense 4. a. OED). The virtual and the portmanteau thus intersect and interpenetrate in an original configuration, throwing new light on Carroll's continuing legacy in relation to both literature and film. This virtual-portmanteau formation is thus used to read Carroll's literary work (as well as his illustrations and his photography) and its ongoing effects in three virtual reality texts: William Gibson's Neuromancer, Jeff Noon's Automated Alice, and Larry and Andy Wachowski's Matrix film trilogy.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available