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Title: Feeling-things : an ethics of object-oriented ontology in the magic realism of Murakami Haruki and Don DeLillo
Author: Chin, Gabriel Patrick Wei-Hao
ISNI:       0000 0004 9353 3032
Awarding Body: University of Sussex
Current Institution: University of Sussex
Date of Award: 2020
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This thesis studies the writers Don DeLillo and Murakami Haruki in conjunction with the philosophical field known Object-Oriented Ontology (OOO). I argue that all three are united under the figure of Magic Realism, which I read through the critic Franz Roh, who first coined the term. Magic Realism in this frame is centred upon representing the persistence of discrete and finite objects and things in spite of a background of flux which seeks to engulf them. OOO shares this philosophical concern in arguing that objects are the central constituent of reality. I hold that the writing of DeLillo and Murakami mobilises these concerns in an ethical response to the overwhelming forces of late-stage capitalism, which is the totalising force par excellence when it comes to reducing independent and discrete entities to mere parts or useful energy within a system. This project reads these writers through the affects of anxiety, humour, and charm, and the lens of everyday life to extract an ethical response to the age of anthropogenic forces in a non-anthropocentric frame, a response to the non-human other based on the basic contention that no entity holds a privileged position in the universe of things. My methodology remains within the realm of literary close-reading, but with the added caveat that, in the spirit of objects, it does not pursue any great investment in authorial intention or author biography as part of the function of the literary text as an object in its own right. This work concludes that a proper ethical position, on the level of an everyday affective stance, requires a vulnerable commitment to being amongst things, to abandon any aspiration to a limitless or unbound free-floating freedom, and to believe in changing the world by living from it.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: PL0856.U673 Murakami, Haruki, 1949- ; PN0056.M24 Magic realism ; PS3554.E4425 DeLillo, Don