Date of Degree

9-2012

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph.D.

Program

English

Advisor

Wayne Koestenbaum

Committee Members

Rachel Brownstein

Gerhard Joseph

Subject Categories

Modern Literature

Keywords

Modern literature, American literature, English literature, Romance literature

Abstract

This dissertation examines the occurrence of catalogs and lists in the literary works of several twentieth-century authors, including James Joyce, poet James Schuyler, novelist and cultural historian James McCourt, the postmodern fabulist Thomas Pynchon, and the French experimental prose author Georges Perec. The dissertation seeks to trace how each author makes use of catalogs in his work, how catalogs form a central part of his style and subject matter, and how his use of catalogs can be read against the biographical, historical, and social contexts surrounding his life and work. A theoretical introduction situates my work among theorists of epistemology, narrative, objectification, and desire, theorists such as Foucault (order and classification), Deleuze and Guattari (rhizome vs. root systems), and Susan Stewart (the impulse toward collecting, the gigantic). Catalogs and lists are shown to be modes of literary representation with a millennial past, dating all the way back to Homer, and with strikingly contemporary resonances, especially for twentieth-first-century readers and critics living in the wake of Modernism and postmodernism.

Comments

Digital reproduction from the UMI microform.

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