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Abjection and social transformation in John Fowles's Mantissa and A Maggot

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Date Issued:
2010
Summary:
In John Fowles's last two novels, he alters his authorial project of discovering freedom for an individual from a social system to how a social system can be changed from within. Using Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection and her interpretation of the semiotic versus symbolic processes of signification, readers can determine how an imbalance in the human signifying process has become corrupted by power. Through Fowles's heroines and semiotic irruptions of the symbolic order in both Mantissa and A Maggot, Fowles reveals weaknesses in the symbolic, and consequently, moments where transformation of a patriarchal, symbolic system can be recognized. These moments of strain on the symbolic are significant because they cause a disruption of the rules and borders that define a social system like patriarchy. By calling attention to these moments, the categorical imperatives that have been imposed on women and perpetuated for the purpose of maintaining power relations can thus be subverted. In Mantissa and A Maggot, Fowles accomplishes a breaking of the boundaries, both within and of the text, by providing a literary space where readers can glimpse the power of the semiotic, the corruption of social conditioning, and gain a new perspective of their own symbolic/social system in the real world.
Title: Abjection and social transformation in John Fowles's Mantissa and A Maggot.
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Name(s): Skolnick, Jenifer A.
Dorothy F. Schmidt College of Arts and Letters
Department of English
Type of Resource: text
Genre: Electronic Thesis Or Dissertation
Date Issued: 2010
Publisher: Florida Atlantic University
Physical Form: electronic
Extent: vi, 91 p.
Language(s): English
Summary: In John Fowles's last two novels, he alters his authorial project of discovering freedom for an individual from a social system to how a social system can be changed from within. Using Julia Kristeva's theory of abjection and her interpretation of the semiotic versus symbolic processes of signification, readers can determine how an imbalance in the human signifying process has become corrupted by power. Through Fowles's heroines and semiotic irruptions of the symbolic order in both Mantissa and A Maggot, Fowles reveals weaknesses in the symbolic, and consequently, moments where transformation of a patriarchal, symbolic system can be recognized. These moments of strain on the symbolic are significant because they cause a disruption of the rules and borders that define a social system like patriarchy. By calling attention to these moments, the categorical imperatives that have been imposed on women and perpetuated for the purpose of maintaining power relations can thus be subverted. In Mantissa and A Maggot, Fowles accomplishes a breaking of the boundaries, both within and of the text, by providing a literary space where readers can glimpse the power of the semiotic, the corruption of social conditioning, and gain a new perspective of their own symbolic/social system in the real world.
Identifier: 705370065 (oclc), 2979382 (digitool), FADT2979382 (IID), fau:3604 (fedora)
Note(s): by Jenifer A. Skolnick.
Thesis (M.A.)--Florida Atlantic University, 2010.
Includes bibliography.
Electronic reproduction. Boca Raton, Fla., 2010. Mode of access: World Wide Web.
Subject(s): Fowles, John, 1926-2005
Fowles, John, 1926-2005
Creation (Literary, artistic, etc.)
Culture -- Semiotic models
Symbolic interactionism
Symbolism in literature
Postmodernism (Literature)
Persistent Link to This Record: http://purl.flvc.org/FAU/2979382
Use and Reproduction: http://rightsstatements.org/vocab/InC/1.0/
Owner Institution: FAU