Mutation, sexuality and consumption: representations of the hyperreal body in twentieth century fiction

Fletcher, Bethan Morwenna (2003) Mutation, sexuality and consumption: representations of the hyperreal body in twentieth century fiction. (MA(R) thesis), Kingston University, .


This study investigates the representation of the hyperreal body in the work of four twentieth century authors; Don Delillo, J.G Ballard, Angela Carter and Peter Carey. It reveals the' way in which three elements of physicality (mutation, sexuality and consumption) express the simulation of the self and the collapse of autonomous physical reality. This study explores new ground both in the contextualisation of the concept of hyperreality, discourses of the body, and literary criticism of fiction by the chosen authors. A new approach is taken by applying the theory of simulation to physicality in contemporary literature, with fresh insight into the role of the body, and the work of the authors studied. In terms of the theoretical element of the thesis, the central premise of hyperreality necessitates engagement with the author of the term, Jean Baudrillard. Various other critics form the basis of interrelated arguments and debates surrounding the validity and influence of simulation. The sociological perspectives of Michel Foucault, Mary Douglas, Brian Featherstone, Pasi Falk and Brian S. Turner form one aspect of critical enquiry into themes of the body, whereas the psychoanalytical basis of self-recognition is explored through the work of Jacques Lacan, Sigmund Freud, and Helene Cixous. Chapter one deals with the concept of mutation as a reflection of the transition from individual to simulated entity in Don Delillo's White Noise (1984). In contrast to the tension created by Delillo around this issue, J.G Ballard's Crash (1973) serves as an alternative, embracing simulation as a means of heightened sexual experience. The study of various works by Angela Carter in chapter two expands on the theme of sexuality as a reflection ofthe hyperreal body. Critical analysis of Nights at the Circus (1984), The Magic Toyshop (1981) and The Bloody Chamber (1979) in this chapter deconstructs Carter's attitude to the body, discussing themes such as menstruation to this end. Finally, an outline of Peter Carey's representation of the body and eating in Bliss (1981) exposes the physical reflection of simulation through consumption, engaging with issues such as oral imagery, the dichotomy of sexual and alimentary consumption and sacred and profane food.

Actions (Repository Editors)

Item Control Page Item Control Page