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Renderings of the Abyss: some changing nineteenth-century literary perceptions of the animal / human divide.

Kan, Tabitha G (2016) Renderings of the Abyss: some changing nineteenth-century literary perceptions of the animal / human divide. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis is to amalgamate philosophy and history of science with literature to achieve an overview of changing ideas of the animal/human divide during the nineteenth century. Drawing on the ideas of Jacques Derrida, Friedrich Nietzsche, Julia Kristeva and Giorgio Agamben. I consider this divide and its contents, often regarded as an abyss. The study is written like a time line, starting at the beginning of the nineteenth century and finishing at the end. I split the nineteenth century into four time periods centred around the emergence of Darwinian theory, considered by this study to be the single most prolific scientific event to have occurred during the nineteenth century. These time frames are the pre-Darwinian, the early Darwinian, the late Darwinian and the post-Darwinian. The study is split into four chapters which coincide with these time frames, covering four different novels which exemplify contextually relevant ideas of the abyss. These are Frankenstein by Mary Shelley, Moby-Dick by Herman Melville, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky and The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells. During the course of this study I consider various ideas applied by the authors about the abyssal limits and what they consist of. These include considerations on reason, society, morality and spirituality, all ideas used in various different manners to attempt to explain the abyss. From these various deliberations I formulate a conclusion which takes into account the various nuances which would have effected each of the writer’s formulations of the abyss.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0080 Criticism
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General) > PN0441 Literary History
P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Tabitha Kan
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2017 08:55
Last Modified: 20 Apr 2017 08:55
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/19458

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