Date: May 2007
Creator: Bradley, Darin Colbert
Description: This dissertation explores how contemporary, small-press, speculative fiction deviates from other genres in depicting the processes of consciousness in narrative. I study how the confluence of contemporary cognitive theory and experimental, small-press, speculative fiction has produced a new narrative mode, one wherein literature portrays not the product of consciousness but its process instead. Unlike authors who worked previously in the stream-of-consciousness or interior monologue modes, writers in this new narrative mode (which this dissertation refers to as "the little weird") use the techniques of recursion, narratological anachrony, and Ulric Neisser's "ecological self" to avoid the constraints of textual linearity that have historically prevented other literary modes from accurately portraying the operations of "self." Extrapolating from Mieke Bal's seminal theory of narratology; Tzvetan Todorov's theory of the fantastic; Daniel C. Dennett's theories of consciousness; and the works of Darko Suvin, Robert Scholes, Jean Baudrillard, and others, I create a new mode not for classifying categories of speculative fiction, but for re-envisioning those already in use. This study, which concentrates on the work of progressive, small-press, speculative writers such as Kelly Link, Forrest Aguirre, George Saunders, Jeffrey Ford, China Miéville, and many others, explores new ideas about narrative "coherence" from the points ...
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