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Document Type:Latin Dissertation
Language of Document:English
Record Number:55608
Doc. No:TL25562
Call number:‭3234865‬
Main Entry:Ilya T. Wick
Title & Author:Monstrous fictions of the human: From “Frankenstein” to “Hedwig”Ilya T. Wick
College:The University of Wisconsin - Madison
Date:2006
Degree:Ph.D.
student score:2006
Page No:237
Abstract:Monstrous Fictions of the Human considers the body as a site of decision between human and monster. Fictions of making and unmaking bodies deemed human or otherwise reveal the tenuous nature of distinctions upon which these definitions are constructed. Such fictions insist on the visibility of the body and are enacted through violent divisions that seek to protect their own ephemeral integrity. Beginning with the iconic mobster of Mary Shelley's Frankenstein , I argue that the fiction of the monster relies on flesh, on difference inscribed into the body of an/other and inspired by the desire for that very difference. Following this trajectory through Horacio Quiroga's 1910 novella El hombre artificial, I contrast these fictions with Paul Auster's 1985 City of Glass and the fairytale La Barbe-Bleue , works of unmaking human bodies in failed efforts to define them. Specifically gendered distinctions of La Barbe-Bleue challenged in subsequent 20th century rewritings: Luisa Valenzuela's La Have and Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber. Both revisions reveal how layered fictions further distinguish some humans from others. In the next chapter, I consider fictional challenges to divisive bodily conventions in a novel and a film that both seek to exploit the shared fictiveness of the (division between) human and the monster. The "freaks" of Katherine Dunn's novel Geek Love and the "s/he" of John Cameron Mitchell's film Hedwig and the Angry Inch frustrate empty attempts to normalize "deviant" bodies. Reclaiming the domain of the visible to establish new fictions of self, they offer speculative strategies for exploiting imposed fictions of "deviance" in hopes of realizing alternative visions. In closing "Monstrous Fictions of the Human" turns briefly to recent photographic revelations from Abu Ghraib prison in Iraq as yet another instance of fictive desires realized by altering and arranging actual bodies in explicit displays of their torturers' desires. Such human fictions are constructed upon monstrous fictions, on explicitly false distinctions that subtend violent acts. Ultimately, I argue the desire for a divisive universal definition of the human is an always-pending violence, not simply suffered by the "monster", but also, unavoidably, by humans themselves.
Subject:Language, literature and linguistics; Body; Fictions; Frankenstein; Hedwig and the Angry Inch; Monster; Comparative literature; American literature; 0591:American literature; 0295:Comparative literature
Added Entry:M. N. Layoun
Added Entry:The University of Wisconsin - Madison