Literature and Domination: Sex, Knowledge, and Power in - download pdf or read online

By M. Keith Booker

ISBN-10: 0813011957

ISBN-13: 9780813011950

ISBN-10: 0813019133

ISBN-13: 9780813019130

Utilizing the theoretical assets supplied via cultural critics reminiscent of Adorno, Jameson, Althusser, and Foucault, M. Keith Booker examines the remedy of problems with strength and domination in smooth literature. Discussing texts resembling Virginia Woolf's The Waves, Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita, Thomas Pynchon's V., and Italo Calvino's If on a winter's evening a visitor, Booker makes a speciality of gender kinfolk as a locus of struggles for strength in human relatives quite often. He additionally will pay specified realization to the paintings of Samuel Beckett, studying the novels Watt and The misplaced Ones to discover the problems of strength and domination in an Irish cultural context.    

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The Lost Ones tantalizes the reader by offering numerous totalizing recuperative strategies that allow one to read it as a fairly straightforward allegory. But it offers so many of these strategies that each undermines the other, and in the end no attempt at totalizing reading can ever succeed. A careful study of The Lost Ones thus offers a number of useful lessons for those who would seek to oppose dominative strategies in both the reading and the teaching of literary texts, even as its resonance with the dystopian tradition provides powerful reminders that a great deal is at stake in this opposition.

Yet Pozzo reappears in the second act as blind and lame, virtually helpless and certainly unable physically to enforce his domination of Lucky. In this sense Pozzo can be read as a representation of the breakdown in traditional structures of authority that so haunts (and inspires) the modernist literary imagination. Importantly, however, Lucky remains as submissive as ever, so attuned to his enslaved condition that he automatically responds to orders even when he is not compelled to do so. ) no longer serve as effective legitimating anchors for the power they once wielded.

In his later project Beckett will turn to a radical linguistic experimentalism in an attempt to explore alternatives to such authoritarian uses of language. Watt, on the other hand, utilizes such language in order to undermine it. In fact, Hugh Culik has argued that Watt is Beckett's last attempt to employ such language and that its failure leads to his later experimentalism: "To the extent that the novel relies on the type of knowledge and the type of language it rejects, it is unsatisfying; but to the extent Watt identifies central issues of Beckett's later work, the novel is important to Beckett's development" (70).

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Literature and Domination: Sex, Knowledge, and Power in Modern Fiction by M. Keith Booker


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