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Transforming Narratives: Subjectivity and Metamorphosis in Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Alejo Carpentier, Vassilis Vassilikos, Virginia Woolf, and Marie Darrieussecq

Apanomeritaki, Eirini (2018) Transforming Narratives: Subjectivity and Metamorphosis in Franz Kafka, Vladimir Nabokov, Alejo Carpentier, Vassilis Vassilikos, Virginia Woolf, and Marie Darrieussecq. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

This doctoral project explores the narrative representations of transforming subjectivity in modernist and post-modernist texts that deploy the trope of metamorphosis. Subjectivity is explored within a psychoanalytic framework and from a comparative lens, through the juxtaposition of selected short stories and novels of metamorphosis from different literatures, produced in different languages and under different geocultural and historico-political conditions from 1915 to 1996. Chapter One explores subjectivity as sacrificial and in conflict with a symbolic father-authority, through a close reading of insect metamorphosis in Franz Kafka’s “The Metamorphosis” (1915) and Vladimir Nabokov’s “The Aurelian” (1931). Chapter Two addresses the postcolonial dimension of subjectivity and its collective construction in terms of the loss of home in Alejo Carpentier’s The Kingdom of This World (1949) and Vassilis Vassilikos’s …and dreams are dreams (1988). Chapter Three pairs two feminist writers and their stories of metamorphoses, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: A Biography (1928) and Darrieussecq’s Pig Tales: A Novel of Lust and Transformation (1996), to explore subjectivity as hybrid: androgynous and human-animal like. Metamorphosis, as this project suggests, allows us to explore an array of subjectivities, both individual and collective: it points to the issues of death, rebirth, sacrifice, the subject’s position within a nation and the processes of nation-formation, and creative writing as negotiating loss, while it also challenges the established boundaries of gender and animal representation. This thesis argues that the twentieth-century stories of metamorphosis which are being examined here articulate a certain metamorphosis in our very conception of subjectivity, namely, the reconceptualization of subjectivity as hybrid, metamorphic, and bound to individual and collective transformations.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: metamorphosis, subjectivity, Kafka, Nabokov, Carpentier, Vassilikos, Woolf, Darrieussecq
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > B Philosophy (General)
B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > PE English
P Language and Literature > PN Literature (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Humanities > Literature, Film, and Theatre Studies, Department of
Depositing User: Eirini Apanomeritaki
Date Deposited: 10 Oct 2018 16:27
Last Modified: 10 Oct 2018 16:27
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/23243

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