Voluntary exiles: Nomadic bodies as the prostheses of the self in the prose of Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz

Agata Stepien, University of Rhode Island

Abstract

The prose of Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka, and Bruno Schulz presents a constant preoccupation with matter—the material reality of the outside world; the world of inanimate objects, nature, and other bodies as both distinct from, and connected to the corporeal reality of one's own self. The writings of Beckett, Kafka, and Schulz explore and scrutinize the transformative potentials of the body, and thus the possibilities of self-redefinition. This dissertation draws on the theoretical frameworks defining the self predominant in the late nineteenth and the twentieth century to pinpoint complexities of the relationship between the aesthetic and the scientific representations of reality as exemplified by the selected literary texts. The question of the self plays a crucial role here because it unfolds the multiplicity of possibilities in which to explore the body in different contexts and configurations; e.g. as a physiological, psychological, social, aesthetic, linguistic, scientific etc. phenomenon. By interrogation of the bodily presence in the prose of Beckett, Kafka and Schulz, this study exposes the various mechanisms of signification set in motion by the rapid development of natural sciences, technology, psychoanalysis etc. in the nineteenth and the twentieth century in the context of Eastern and Western Europe. ^

Subject Area

Education, Language and Literature|Literature, Modern|Literature, Germanic|Literature, Romance|Literature, Slavic and East European|European Studies|Literature, English

Recommended Citation

Agata Stepien, "Voluntary exiles: Nomadic bodies as the prostheses of the self in the prose of Samuel Beckett, Franz Kafka and Bruno Schulz" (2011). Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access). Paper AAI3450682.
http://digitalcommons.uri.edu/dissertations/AAI3450682

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