We make fiction because we are fiction : authorities displaced in the novels of Russell Hoban

 

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dc.contributor.advisor Marx, Lesley en_ZA
dc.contributor.author Dunwell, Lara Dalene en_ZA
dc.date.accessioned 2016-08-22T12:19:51Z
dc.date.available 2016-08-22T12:19:51Z
dc.date.issued 1995 en_ZA
dc.identifier.citation Dunwell, L. 1995. We make fiction because we are fiction : authorities displaced in the novels of Russell Hoban. University of Cape Town. en_ZA
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/11427/21400
dc.description.abstract Russell Hoban, born in Pennsylvania in 1925, is the author of fifty children's books and eight novels. This thesis provides a critical reading of his novels Kleinzeit (1974), The Medusa Frequency (1987), Riddley Walker (1980) and Pilgermann (1983). The thesis argues that the alienation of the protagonist from his society -- a theme common to the novels above -- is the result of the operation of the Derridean process of displacement. Hoban's novels work deconstructively to undermine binary oppositions (such as "reality" versus "fantasy"). I argue that the novels aim to recuperate the marginal by displacing the centre. In Kleinzeit and The Medusa Frequency, reality itself is figured as an absent centre. Through a discussion of magical realism, I show how Hoban questions the idea of a "consensus reality". I argue that by denying authority to the authors in these texts, Hoban privileges the uncertain authority of language itself. Using Derrida's concept of différance, I show that language in Kleinzeit is figured as an endless deferral of meaning. In Chapter II, I turn to an analysis of the invented post-atomic language of Riddley Walker, and examine how the neologisms and futuristic orthography of the text contribute towards significant wordplay. I argue that Riddley's attempts to read his culture's past offer a critique of the contemporary reader's assumptions, both about her present and about reading itself. I rely on Mircea Eliade's The Myth of the Eternal Return (1965) in discussing the nature of myth-making in Riddley Walker. In the final chapter, I discuss in detail the mechanism of displacement in Pilgermann. By examining the role of the grotesque in the novel, I argue that Pilgermann can be read hymeneutically. Derrida's figure of the hymen becomes the emblem of marginalisation. Using the example of the mode of the grotesque {which is prominent in the novel), I argue that the marginal is always already present in the very centre which would expel it. Pilgermann is read as an attempt to recuperate the margin in spite of "the confusion between the present and the non-present" (Derrida, 1984: 212) which is the hymen. Finally, I conclude that Hoban's works, while focussing on displacement, unwittingly displace women, by figuring them as absences whose existence is primarily metaphorical. en_ZA
dc.language.iso eng en_ZA
dc.subject.other English Language and Literature en_ZA
dc.title We make fiction because we are fiction : authorities displaced in the novels of Russell Hoban en_ZA
dc.type Thesis / Dissertation en_ZA
uct.type.publication Research en_ZA
uct.type.resource Thesis en_ZA
dc.publisher.institution University of Cape Town
dc.publisher.faculty Faculty of Humanities en_ZA
dc.publisher.department Department of English Language and Literature en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationlevel Masters en_ZA
dc.type.qualificationname MA en_ZA
uct.type.filetype Text
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