The reconnoiter inward: interiority and spatial aesthetics in the novels of Don DeLillo and J. M. Coetzee

Da Cunha Lewin, Katherine (2018) The reconnoiter inward: interiority and spatial aesthetics in the novels of Don DeLillo and J. M. Coetzee. Doctoral thesis (PhD), University of Sussex.

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The novel, as I will show, has an historic association with the interior. In its emergence through what Ian Watt refers to as ‘realist particularity,’ the novel allowed new access to the interior lives of human beings. As I discuss, this interiority is both real and imagined, a means of giving shape to life in modernity. This shaping, however, not only affects the depiction of interior spaces in fiction, but the space of fiction itself. In this, I suggest, we find a complex literary architecture that is foundational to the western canon.

I trace how this elastic interiority has been imagined in the work of Don DeLillo and J. M. Coetzee. My project reads the work of my chosen others together as a way of drawing attention to their shared investment in literary architecture. I will firstly outline the history of interiority in the novel from the house of fiction of Henry James and the interior architecture of Edith Wharton, to the modernist dismantling of novelistic geography in Franz Kafka. I focus on the work of Samuel Beckett whose radical reimaging of literary geography not only questioned the space of fiction but the ethics of looking for a fictional subject. In my second and third chapter, I outline the legacy literary architecture has had throughout DeLillo and Coetzee’s oeuvre. In my conclusion, I read two novels—Point Omega and Disgrace respectively—as a way of mapping their challenge to the boundaries of contemporary global politics and its invasion into interior life.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Schools and Departments: School of Media, Arts and Humanities > English
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature > PR9080 English literature outside of Great Britain. Including present and former British colonies and dependencies except the United States > PR9340 Africa > PR9354.2 South Africa. History. General works > PR9369 Individual authors > PR9369.3.C58 Coetzee, J. M., 1940-
P Language and Literature > PS American literature > PS0700 Individual authors > PS3550 1961-2000 > PS3554.E4425 DeLillo, Don
Depositing User: Library Cataloguing
Date Deposited: 20 Jul 2018 10:32
Last Modified: 16 Mar 2022 15:48

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