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Explorer la frontière : folie et genre(s) dans la littérature anglophone contemporaine

Abstract : Traditionally conceptualised as the underside or the outside of reason, madness most often rhymes with excess; as such, it continually threatens to transgress all definitional or conceptual limits set by rational thought. Indeed, at the core of rationality is an impulse to delimit and classify, of which categories of genre and gender are quintessential examples. Starting from the observation that depicting madness regularly entails crossing, questioning and redefining genre and gender boundaries, this work investigates how literary representations of madness relate to the classification and conceptualisation of gender and genre in a selection of novels, short stories and plays by six different writers – Janet Frame, Jenny Diski, Sarah Kane, Ian McEwan, Anthony Neilson, and Will Self – published between 1951 and 2004. With the subversion of established categories as their central aim and dynamics, these works call for an exploration of the specific way in which depictions of madness, by using the border as one of their core motifs, impact the conceptualisation of borders. No longer a mere demarcation or dividing line between spaces, or simply a meeting point, the border becomes a full-blown space for individuals and texts to inhabit. Indeed, through their representations of madness, the borderline stories under study seem to embrace and promote both an aesthetics and an epistemology of the in-between. This work therefore focuses on the images and uses of liminality in stories of madmen and madwomen that, by remapping textual and sexual identities, have begun to chart these “lands to come” which, according to Deleuze and Guattari, are the true destination of all writing.
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Diane Gagneret. Explorer la frontière : folie et genre(s) dans la littérature anglophone contemporaine. Littératures. Université de Lyon, 2019. Français. ⟨NNT : 2019LYSEN056⟩. ⟨tel-02458256⟩

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