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Durham e-Theses
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Technology and Embodiment in the Fiction of Thomas Pynchon
and Don DeLillo

Technology and Embodiment in the Fiction of Thomas Pynchon
and Don DeLillo.
Doctoral thesis, Durham University.

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This thesis presents a reading of the fiction of Don DeLillo and Thomas Pynchon that focuses on the significance of embodiment in the authors’ technologically mediated worlds. The study draws upon the work of Vivian Sobchack, Steven Connor, Merleau-Ponty, and Jean-Paul Sartre. Critics of DeLillo and Pynchon’s fiction have generally avoided phenomenological perspectives; as a result, the concept of corporeality has not been thoroughly examined. Thus, the thesis examines the fiction of Pynchon and DeLillo in light of theories of embodiment that have been overlooked. Central to the thesis is a study of the theoretical and technical aspects of visual and auditory technology that is focused on how the authors depict an intrinsic connection between the physical body and prosthetics. To subvert the conventional dichotomy between the human and the technological, the thesis explores the sensory experiences of the characters, drawing attention to the inextricable connection between the body and the world. The analysis also considers the significance of the unity of the senses and the connection this has to the manner in which the body’s materiality is depicted. Moreover, the concept of monstrosity is used to explore how the authors portray the fluidity and the multiplicity of the human body. Giving a close reading of the body’s inherent connection to technology and the prominence of materiality, the thesis suggests that the characters depict subjective experiences that are rooted in their physicality. Technology is not perceived, in its conventional sense, as a means of disembodying the characters; on the contrary, it is the gateway to exploring corporeality.

Item Type:Thesis (Doctoral)
Award:Doctor of Philosophy
Keywords:Don DeLillo, Pynchon, body, technology, phenomenology,
Faculty and Department:Faculty of Arts and Humanities > English Studies, Department of
Thesis Date:2012
Copyright:Copyright of this thesis is held by the author
Deposited On:23 Apr 2012 10:22

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