Perversity on paper : taboo, abjection and literature : Iain Banks' The wasp factory, Ian McEwan's The cement garden, and Irvine Welsh's Marabou stork nightmares

De Coning, Alexis (2011) Perversity on paper : taboo, abjection and literature : Iain Banks' The wasp factory, Ian McEwan's The cement garden, and Irvine Welsh's Marabou stork nightmares. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the notion of perversity in literature, specifically with regard to representations of taboo and abjection in Iain Banks‟ The Wasp Factory, Ian McEwan‟s The Cement Garden, and Irvine Welsh‟s Marabou Stork Nightmares. Julia Kristeva‟s Powers of Horror: An Essay on Abjection, as well as her notion of revolt, constitute the central theoretical framework for my analysis. However, I also draw upon the concepts of monstrosity, grotesqueness and the uncanny in order to explicate the affect of abject fiction on the reader. I posit, then, that to engage with literary works that confront one with perversity, abjection and taboo entails exposing oneself to an ambiguous or liminal space in which culturally established values are both disrupted and affirmed. The subversive and revolutionary potential of the aforementioned novels is discussed with reference to the notion of the perverted Bildungsroman since, in their respective transgressions of taboos, the narrators of these novels disrupt social order, and their narratives end on a note of indeterminacy or the absolute finality of death, rather than self-actualisation. Moreover, in exposing the binaries of sex and gender as arbitrary and fluctuating, these narrators‟ perverse sexual and gender performativities gesture towards alternative modes of being (beyond social sanction), and invoke Kristeva‟s notion of individual revolt as a „condition necessary for the life of the mind and society‟.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Iain Banks, Ian McEwan, Irvine Welsh, Julia Kristeva, Taboo, Abjection, Literature
Subjects:P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English
ID Code:2550
Deposited By: Mrs Carol Perold
Deposited On:03 Apr 2012 07:24
Last Modified:03 Apr 2012 07:24
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