Black Blood/Red Ink: Fact, Fiction, and Authorial Self-Representation in Vladimir Nabokov's Look at the Harlequins!, Marguerite Duras' L'Amant de la Chine du Nord, and Philip Roth's Operation Shylock: A Confession Public Deposited

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  • March 21, 2019
  • Phillips, David
    • Affiliation: College of Arts and Sciences, Department of English and Comparative Literature
  • In the past several decades, a new class of hybrid texts seems to have emerged: texts characterized by both 1) autobiographical referentiality, and 2) intertextual relations to earlier fictive works by the author. Such texts pose a variety of problems for their readers as well as for literary critics and theorists--problems revolving around a number of inter-related issues that coalesce around two primary questions: 1) How are such works to be read and interpreted?, and 2) What do the author's strategies of self-representation in such works reveal about the relations between their fiction and their lives? Answers to the first question may be arrived at through a consideration of various theories of fiction as both a discursive mode and a distinct literary genre--particularly the theory of fiction advanced by Gregory Currie in The Nature of Fiction, which defines fiction as a communicative act according to issues of authorial intentionality. Answers to the second question depend upon particular studies of individual works, informed and contextualized by answers to the first question. The present project is a comparative analysis of three such texts--Vladimir Nabokov's Look at the Harlequins! (1974), Marguerite Duras' L'Amant de la Chine du Nord (1991), and Philip Roth's Operation Shylock: A Confession (1993)--which have been specifically selected for both the remarkable similarities in the situations that gave rise to them as well as the specific strategies and techniques employed; and the significant differences in their respective authors' understandings of a) the nature of the self, how it is to be represented and on what authority; and b) the precise inter-relations between the autobiographical and the fictive. Through such a study we might gain greater insight into the range of possibilities inherent in the single common strategy of composing a hybrid text characterized by both autobiographical or autobiographically-derived self-representation, and intertextuality with respect to the author's own prior works.
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  • In Copyright
  • McGowan, John
  • Doctor of Philosophy
Degree granting institution
  • University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Graduation year
  • 2012

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