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Revolting words in some Australian narratives

Floyd, Christopher (1995) Revolting words in some Australian narratives. PhD thesis, Murdoch University.

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The objective of this thesis is to explore metaphors of the body as they are used in certain Australian fictional texts. The central concept is that the body is the medium through which the world is perceived, with metaphors of the body, of bodily presence, and of physical sensation constituting seminal vehicles of meaning. This is consistent with the underlying sexual obsession that is manifest in the Western metaphysical tradition through its binary, body centred morality. In this tradition, the body is considered ‘bad’ because it is of matter, and not of spirit. ‘Revolting words’ in the title constitutes an important paradigm of the thesis, invoking a set of binary oppositions that epitomises the Western metaphysical tradition. It is an allusion to the well-thumbed ‘dirty’ pages of books, that are redolent of desire, indicating a transgression of civilised public behaviour because of the greasy trace, the material impurity left on the page. The intent of this thesis is to explore the Western tradition, focussing on the metaphorical uses of sexuality in literary texts, with reference to Australian fiction, specifically texts of David Ireland, Patrick White, Peter Carey, and Joseph Furphy. The critique of Western metaphysics developed by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida provides a theoretical basis for this exploration.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Humanities
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Supervisor(s): UNSPECIFIED
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