A Strange Connectedness: On the Poetics and Uses of Shame in Contemporary Autobiography

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URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10900/73774
Dokumentart: PhDThesis
Date: 2016-12-16
Source: Parr, Jocelyn. “The shame of the scholarly girl: On Anne Carson’s Nox.” Zeitschrift für Anglistik und Amerikanistik/ A Quarterly of Language, Literature and Culture (Fall 2014): 341-358. And: Parr, Jocelyn. “Somehow Personal,” Brick 96 (Winter 2016): 57-61. Print and online. <http://brickmag.com/review-bluets-maggie-nelson>.
Language: English
Faculty: 5 Philosophische Fakultät
5 Philosophische Fakultät
Department: Allgemeine u. vergleichende Literaturwissenschaft
Advisor: Hotz-Davies, Ingrid (Prof. Dr.)
Day of Oral Examination: 2014-12-17
DDC Classifikation: 420 - English and Old English
800 - Literature and rhetoric
810 - American literature in English
820 - English and Old English literatures
Keywords: Autobiografische Literatur , Literatur , kanadisch <Wort> , Englisch , Scham , Affekt , Gefühl
Other Keywords: Autofiktion
Kanadische Literatur
Affect Theory
Silvan Tomkins
Ben Lerner
Kate Zambreno
Maggie Nelson
Anne Carson
Timothy Bewes
Sheila Heti
Anne Cvetkovich
Canadian literature
License: http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=de http://tobias-lib.uni-tuebingen.de/doku/lic_mit_pod.php?la=en
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This dissertation studies the way that shame can be a pharmakon—a toxic affect or an intoxicating form—with as much potential to heal as it has to harm. I argue that shame informs, inspires, and limits contemporary forms of autobiography. I begin and end the dissertation with works of literary criticism that are loosely autobiographical. Ann Cvetkovich's Depression: A Public Feeling and Kate Zambreno's Heroines both aim to rebut traditional forms of literary criticism by writing in the form of memoir, thus generating a protective enclave for identities they call ‘minor’ (queer in the case of Cvetkovich, female in the case of Zambreno). Sheila Heti's How Should a Person Be? and Ben Lerner's Leaving the Atocha Station fictionalize their autobiographies thus questioning on both a fictional and a metafictional level whether or not anything—art, in particular—can have meaning. Maggie Nelson’s Bluets traces the shame of heartbreak, depression and longing across two hundred and forty propositions, all of which are in hot pursuit of something blue. Anne Carson's Nox articulates the various shames of personality, subjectivity and identification, but also how writing itself can gesture to a less domesticated kind of shame: to the physiology of a book that blushes, averts its gaze, hunches its shoulders. In the end, we return to literary criticism, and find shame at the very farthest reaches of subjectivity, where the subject, literary critic Timothy Bewes, writes about shame as an event in the context of the postcolonial. Taken together, these works start to paint a portrait of a self (and of a critic) that is better described in terms such as ‘becoming’ where subjectivity has about it something contingent or temporary, a kind of self, in other words, that has relinquished much of its authority and therefore its capacity to dominate. The effect of these works is a collective overturning of the subject as a starting point for ethics primarily because such a move seems necessary if we ever want to escape the subject-object structure that has supported centuries of systemic inequality.

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