Literature in anomie: Postcommunist, postmodern, postapocalyptic
This dissertation examines the relationship between literature and anomie (“lawlessness”) trough Blake Butler's prose-poetic Ever (United States, 2009), Tom McCarthy's Remainder (Britain, 2005), Georgi Gospodinov's Natural Novel (Bulgaria, 1999), Samuel Beckett's The Unnamable (France, 1953), and Knut Hamsun's Hunger (Norway, 1890). Contending broadly that literature wrests chaos from order and harnesses the generative capacity of danger to elicit change, the project analyzes the operation of anomie in each of the five texts. Introduced at the turn of the 20 th century in social sciences, anomie describes collapse, uncertainty, and chaos; it constitutes, thus, an aspect of three notable contexts, prominent in contemporary literature and critical theory: the postcommunist, the postmodern, and the postapocalyptic. While disputing current definitions and uses of the term that rely exclusively on its negative connotations, this dissertation foregrounds the simultaneity of anomie's destructive and generative capacities. Each chapter explores distinct textual forms of anomie in relation to current sociopolitical paradigms, scientific theories, and prominent literary debates regarding the term postmodernism and the cultural significance of postapocalyptic visions. Bringing literature to bear on an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, the project argues for anomie's potential to produce new ways of thinking about the self. It demonstrates that anomie's struggles for autonomy from law and inevitable failures generate ethical confrontations and occasions for transformation.^
Mihaela P Harper,
"Literature in anomie: Postcommunist, postmodern, postapocalyptic"
Dissertations and Master's Theses (Campus Access).