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Title: Intertextual masculinities and the struggle for self-reflexivity : a quixotic investigation of the novels of J.M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth and Mario Vargas Llosa
Author: Rossoni, Stefano
ISNI:       0000 0004 7228 7944
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2017
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My thesis studies the struggle for self-discovery of heterosexual masculinities in the self-reflexive novels of J. M. Coetzee, Milan Kundera, Philip Roth and Mario Vargas Llosa. The theoretical context is provided by the literary studies of Middleton (1992) and Schwenger (1984), who emphasise men’s difficulties in writing self-consciously about their gender, and the lack of language for such a reflection. Interpreting the textual practices that Coetzee, Kundera, Roth and Vargas Llosa adopt as a (direct or indirect) response to the legacy of Don Quixote, I argue that their intratextual interplay and intertextual references convert the traditions of the self-reflexive novel into a space through which to express the limits of male self-reflexivity and men’s struggle with emotion. Chapter One focuses on Coetzee’s Disgrace and its protagonist, Lurie, a delusional seducer inspired by Byron’s life. I discuss how Lurie is defined by an inability to read his of emotion, and examine his opera, Byron in Italy, as an attempt to overcome the opacity of his desire. Chapter Two examines the coming of age in Kundera’s Life is Elsewhere and Roth’s The Professor of Desire in the light of Gombrowicz and his notions of form and immaturity. Chapter Three investigates heterosexual masculinity as an attempt to claim authorship in Kundera’s Slowness, Vargas Llosa’s Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter and Roth’s My Life as a Man. Chapter Four addresses how the affective crises of JC and Rigoberto, the ageing protagonists of Coetzee’s Diary of a Bad Year and Vargas Llosa’s The Notebooks of Don Rigoberto, inform their essayistic writing and its hybrid relation to fiction.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available