Date of Award

1-1-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

M.A.

Department

English

First Advisor

Eleanor J. McNees

Keywords

Consciousness, In the Cage, James, Henry, Narrative theory, Posthuman, Reverberator, The

Abstract

In the era of computing and ubiquitous media, scholars across disciplines have been developing new models for how humans operate in complex environments. This line of inquiry can be bracketed under the larger term of posthuman thought. This thesis attempts to engage the critical and fictional work of Henry James with several posthumanist texts to challenge the temporal limitations of both. Against the backdrop of posthuman discourse, James emerges not as the cherished father of modernism but rather as a pioneer of distant territories far beyond the ways in which the modernist novel conceptualized the self and its consciousness. James provides useful models for defining modalities of the posthuman before the advance of technology materially manifested the cyborg reality in which we presently live. Juxtaposing James's proto-modern thought with the postmodern sensibilities of the posthumanists results in significant reconfigurations of both. Jamesian narrative and theory find ways to reconcile the absorption of the self into informational pattern with long-cherished notions of individuality and autonomy; because this self exists both in physical space and outside of it, it is essentially hyperspatial--that which can move through space but also transcends the limitations imposed by space through mediation and virtuality. Ultimately, James performs the posthuman in a holistic way that more productively reveals insights about technology and identity than the attendant theory or criticism.

Provenance

Recieved from ProQuest

Rights holder

Christina Patsiokas

File size

82 p.

File format

application/pdf

Language

en

Discipline

Literature, Mass communication, American studies

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