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Title: Critical scenes of desire in twentieth-century fiction
Author: Gorton, Kristyn
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2001
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This thesis examines scenes of desire in twentieth-century literary and theoretical discourse. It argues that the scene of desire and the critical readings that follow not only demonstrate how desire is linked to the question of woman but also how desire evades critical readings that attempt to fix meaning or demand definition. Moving towards a critical practice which does not impose singular and restrictive interpretations of desire, this thesis approaches scenes of desire as textual moments that allow for multiple and open-ended critiques. Interdisciplinary in scope, this project includes writing from H.D. and Marguerite Duras, feminist and psychoanalytic theory, and visual art of Carolee Schneeman and Jenny Holzer. Each chapter begins with an analysis of a scene of desire and then proceeds to an examination of the ways in which this scene is understood in psychoanalytic and feminist theory. The first chapter examines how Freud and Lacan connect lack to the 'truth' of anatomy and the question of woman. This chapter also analyses the alternatives to psychoanalytic constructions of desire as theorised by French feminists, Luce Irigaray and Héléne Cixous, and performance artist Carolee Schneeman. The second chapter discusses the analytic scene between H.D. and Freud as represented in her Tribute to Freud. The third chapter draws on an article by Jacques Lacan about the Papin sisters entitled, "Motifs du Crime Paranoïque," in order to examine the intersection Lacan constructs between 'knowledge' and 'woman'. The fourth chapter analyses representations of desire and analysis in Marguerite Duras's novels, Moderato Cantabile and Le Ravissement de Lol V. Stein, and argues that her resistance to providing a narrative cure illustrates the way she leaves desire open to interpretation. The final chapter introduces and considers Deleuze and Guattari's innovative theories on desire in Anti-Oedipus. This chapter also engages with feminist responses to Deleuze and Guattari in order to question the possibilities and limitations they offer.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available