By Thomas Phillips

Liminal Fictions in Postmodern tradition examines unique literary, musical, and cinematic narratives that search to motivate serious suggestion and behavior via provocation. From Gogol's useless Souls to Salinger's Franny and Zooey , Phillips argues liminal narratives supply an antidote to the trendy commodification of the self.

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Additional resources for Liminal Fictions in Postmodern Culture: The Politics of Self-Development

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Flight [is] universal” (Lovecraft 1984, 111). This is not the Deleuzian “line of flight” in which “mutations and differences produce not just the progression of history but disruptions, breaks, new beginnings and ‘monstrous’ births” (Colebrook 57), though it may be the beginning of precisely these anomalies for the fleeing elite. ” The fundamental symptom of the world, then, is the illusion of being. The narrator remembers his or her otherness; the self (or “soul”) is annihilated in that profound moment before the mirror image.

Allison [reaches] out and takes his wife’s hand” (117). They have one another there, isolated but far from fortified against the conglomeration of forces that would undo their security, whether in anger or in violent neutrality. Hermeneutically, “The Summer People” posits a particular class of self as victim of its reactionary privilege and sense of entitlement. ” Another way of putting this is to claim that the workers of the world have united and taken it on themselves to, at the very minimum, dismantle the class structure as exercised by the Allisons with a domestic version of what Marx might call “the icy water of egotistical calculation” (1994b, 161).

On the contrary, he devotes his analyses to such writers as Kafka and Melville, whose ambiguously antagonistic protagonists upend their milieus by sabotaging bourgeois or totalitarian sensibilities and values. This literary insurgency may assume a variety of forms; it may collapse traditional literary style or produce minor shifts in the language to slowly reveal cracks and fissures, to make way for the emergence of “a people to come,” a new readership. The reader of a Bartleby, to name one character, cannot help but contemplate the latter’s preference in the face of dehumanizing conditions.

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