Monstrative acts and becoming-monster: on identity, bodies, and the feminine other

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dc.contributor.advisor Gilson, Jools en
dc.contributor.advisor Allen, Graham en Moffat, Nicola Jane 2015-12-03T09:44:10Z 2015-12-03T09:44:10Z 2015 2015
dc.identifier.citation Moffat, N. J. 2015. Monstrative acts and becoming-monster: on identity, bodies, and the feminine other. PhD Thesis, University College Cork. en
dc.identifier.endpage 280
dc.description.abstract Using two examples of literary monsters, the Creature in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1818), and Grendel’s Mother in Beowulf, this thesis demonstrates the bearing fictional identities have on “real” bodies, through an examination of two further literary texts, David Henry Hwang’s play, M. Butterfly (1986) and J. M. Coetzee’s novel, Disgrace (1999). Western definitions of Being have historically divided body and mind, favouring the mind as formative of subjective experience and denigrating the body as secondary and impure. This thesis demonstrates that this mind/body binary is symptomatic of the masculine ontological imperative to disown the body and its effects on Being, simultaneously ridding itself of the feminine it believes is its irrational opposite. Using recent feminist reviews of the canon, which emphasise the body’s importance to ontology and demonstrate the conceptual association between the feminine and the corporeal, this thesis links performative identity practices to theories of monstrosity, explaining how fictional qualities adhere to monstrous bodies by proposing a new theoretical category, the “monstrative.” The monstrative is a performative force that makes the Other into a living sign of Otherness; however, unlike earlier theories of Othering, the monstrative accounts for the Other’s being other to herself. This thesis also attempts to read the misrepresented body of the Other as a possible site for more empowered identity performances, where the monstrous “I” is interpreted as a potentially positive model for identity practice, through the conceptualisation of identity as a process of Becoming rather than Being. The transferal from a noun to a verb not only emphasises the performativity of identity, but also suggests fluidity and multiplicity in identity practice, which always already indicates a monstrosity at work. Thus, while monstrative acts constitute bodies as monstrous, Becoming-monster is an empathetic response to the Other’s monstrosity. en
dc.description.sponsorship Cork County Council (Higher Education Grant) en
dc.format.mimetype application/pdf en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.publisher University College Cork en
dc.rights © 2015, Nicola J. Moffat. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.subject Monstrosity en
dc.subject Performativity en
dc.subject Ontology en
dc.subject Feminist theory en
dc.title Monstrative acts and becoming-monster: on identity, bodies, and the feminine other en
dc.type Doctoral thesis en
dc.type.qualificationlevel Doctoral en
dc.type.qualificationname PhD (Arts) en
dc.internal.availability Full text available en No embargo required en
dc.description.version Accepted Version
dc.contributor.funder Cork County Council en
dc.description.status Not peer reviewed en English en
dc.check.type No Embargo Required
dc.check.reason No embargo required en
dc.check.opt-out No en
dc.thesis.opt-out false
dc.check.embargoformat Not applicable en
dc.internal.conferring Summer Conferring 2015

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© 2015, Nicola J. Moffat. Except where otherwise noted, this item's license is described as © 2015, Nicola J. Moffat.
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