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Title: Brutal bodies : exploring transgression through the fiction of Chuck Palahniuk, Poppy Z. Brite, and Bret Easton Ellis
Author: d'Hont, Coco
ISNI:       0000 0004 5923 213X
Awarding Body: University of East Anglia
Current Institution: University of East Anglia
Date of Award: 2016
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This thesis explores how American transgressive fiction of the 1990s represents and interrogates transgressive processes in its extra-textual context. It shows in what ways transgressive fiction visualizes how transgression functions, not simply as a counter-cultural phenomenon, but more as a central social mechanism. The thesis makes four contributions. First, it critically assesses existing definitions of transgression as counter-cultural, instead conceptualizing transgression as a mechanism which (re)develops central social ideologies. The project traces how the transgression of ideological boundaries forms a cyclical process which (re)produces ideological frameworks. Second, the thesis uses this re-definition to explore 1990s transgressive fiction in its social context. The study investigates how the late 1980s, characterized by phenomena such as neoliberal politics and the HIV/AIDS epidemic, inspired transgressive fiction produced during the 1990s. Thirdly, the thesis constructs an interdisciplinary methodological approach to dissect how the body came to play a crucial role in this context as a site through which transgression occurred. Drawing from biopolitical and queer theory, the study deepens the understanding of transgression as both a literary phenomenon and a socio-political process. Finally, the thesis compares the work of three transgressive authors whose work has not yet been analysed together in depth. It analyses the fiction of Bret Easton Ellis and Chuck Palahniuk in combination with that of Poppy Z. Brite, an author who has, in comparison, been neglected by academia. The analysis results in an increased understanding of the dynamics of transgression in 1990s American fiction and society, showing that transgression is a cyclical process which reproduces and subsequently dissolves ideological boundaries, a practice which results in a temporary crisis which ultimately enables the (re)development of ideologies. The thesis concludes that transgressive fiction of the period represents, exaggerates and interrogates transgression as a cyclical process which (re)configures ideologies in its extra-textual context.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available