Worlds and selves falling apart - The science fiction of Philip K. Dick

GRIN Verlag
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Swiss Diploma Thesis from the year 2000 in the subject American Studies - Literature, grade: 1.5 (A), University of Zurich (English Seminar), 77 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Philip K. Dick's science fiction can be seen as a discussion of the human condition in a world where nothing is what it seems. Human identity has become uncertain, as has the nature of reality itself. This Dickian ontology has a striking similarity to postmodernist theories by thinkers such as Jameson, Baudrillard and McHale, most of whom, by the way, have a weak spot for science fiction. The discussion of Philip K. Dick's novels and short stories against a backdrop of postmodernist theory leads to conclusions that are not only relevant for the author's particular poetics, but for the ontology of our lives in times that science fiction couldn't have imagined. This work focusses on Philip K. Dick's unstable worlds and subjects, investigating Dickian space, time and meaning as well as the author's subjects and the question of schizophrenia and paranoia. Works discussed include Ubik, Time Out of Joint, The Man in the High Castle, A Maze of Death, Eye in the Sky, A Scanner Darkly, Martian Time-Slip and Impostor.
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Publisher
GRIN Verlag
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Published on
Jun 26, 2003
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Pages
93
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ISBN
9783638200875
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Language
English
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Genres
Language Arts & Disciplines / Linguistics / General
Literary Collections / American / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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Essay from the year 1998 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1 (A), University of Aberdeen (English Department), course: Read the City - Read the Text, 11 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Edward W. Soja called Los Angeles ‘the quintessential postmodern metropolis’. This, however, shall not be the premise of my argument in this essay, because of the obvious danger of circularity. Yet I will use postmodern critics and compare my findings to postmodern models of culture, space and society. I will not discuss the term postmodernism itself, simply because the range of this essay does not allow my entering this ongoing debate. The term will be used as denoting both a period, beginning, for my purposes, in the 1960s, and a theory of cultural tendencies in contemporary life. For this essay, I will assume that postmodernism is a fact, a part of everyday reality, and that it differs substantially from modernism. The main body of this essay will consist of a discussion of the fundamental factors which define Los Angeles as postmodern space. I will focus on particularities that distinguish Los Angeles from other cities, most of all from those which have not yet crossed the threshold of postmodernity. Firstly, I will investigate the geographical instability of the city; the fact that it is threatened to be annihilated by natural forces such as earthquakes and the desert. Secondly, I will address the idea of the city as a desert, its horizontality, its vastness, its lack of centre. Thirdly, the structure on this flat surface will be addressed; the freeways as an arterial network, and the structure of segregating walls, both literal and metaphorical. Finally, I will conclude by investigating the parallels between the idea of instability that underlies all of the factors I discuss, and the notion of the unstable in postmodernism.
Essay from the year 1998 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 1 (A), University of Aberdeen (English Department), course: Tristram Shandy, 4 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Metafiction, according to Patricia Waugh, consists of ‘the construction of a fictional illusion (as in traditional realism) and the laying bare of that illusion’. Tristram Shandy, I will argue in this essay, undermines fictional illusion by foregrounding ‘the most fundamental set of all narrative conventions: those concerning the representations of time’ (Waugh 70). I will exemplify this by trying to apply a conventional set of narratological terms to Tristram Shandy. I will show that these terms, which are based on conventional narratives, are neither exhaustive nor distinctive when one tries to use them for Tristram Shandy. Narrative fiction, Rimmon-Kenan states, has three main aspects: story, text and narration: ‘Story’ designates the narrated events, abstracted from their disposition in the text and reconstructed in their chronological order, together with the participants in these events. Whereas ‘story’ is a succession of events, ‘text’ is a spoken or written discourse which undertakes their telling. ... Time is essential for all of these three aspects, as will become clear in my discussion. Time in itself, following Rimmon-Kenan, can be viewed in three respects: order, duration, and frequency (p. 46). I will focus on the first two aspects since they are more essential to the novel than frequency.4 Finally, I will discuss whether, after my discussion of Tristram Shandy’s time structure, one can conclude that the novel is a metafiction according to Waugh’s definition of the term.
Essay from the year 1998 in the subject English Language and Literature Studies - Literature, grade: 2 (B), University of Aberdeen (English Seminar), course: Romantics and Revolutionaries, 5 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: In this essay, I will approach the term ‘Jacobin novel’ with several definitions, attempting to cover as many aspects of William Godwin’s novel Caleb Williams and its background as possible. I will discuss with each definition whether it is applicable to the novel, or not. In the first part of the essay, the definition will be concerned with the political background of the author, mainly. Then I will consider the political philosophy inherent in the novel itself. Finally, I will investigate the aesthetics of Caleb Williams, and discuss whether these contradict the political content of the novel. The first difficulties when trying to define the term ‘Jacobin novel’ arise with the word ‘Jacobin.’ It has been used in the English Revolution debate of the 1790s mainly by the conservatives, counter-revolutionaries, or ‘Anti-Jacobins’ to name, or rather denounce, the supporters of the French Revolution. These had rather little to do with the particular political movement of revolutionary France which went under that name. [T]he term ‘Jacobin’ itself is misleading, since most of those in Britain who bore that label were in fact Girondins in their principles and beliefs, and took their political thought from native rather than French precedents. The name ‘Jacobin,’ however, was at least partly accepted by the English supporters of the French Revolution (Kelly 2), and is useful as an umbrella term for the relatively heterogeneous group of progressive political forces in the 1790s.2 As the author of Enquiry Concerning Political Justice and several pamphlets, Godwin was “obviously directly involved in organized English Jacobinism in the early 1790s” (Kelly 4).
Essay from the year 1998 in the subject American Studies - Culture and Applied Geography, grade: 1 (A), University of Aberdeen (English Department), course: Read the City - Read the Text, 11 entries in the bibliography, language: English, abstract: Edward W. Soja called Los Angeles ‘the quintessential postmodern metropolis’. This, however, shall not be the premise of my argument in this essay, because of the obvious danger of circularity. Yet I will use postmodern critics and compare my findings to postmodern models of culture, space and society. I will not discuss the term postmodernism itself, simply because the range of this essay does not allow my entering this ongoing debate. The term will be used as denoting both a period, beginning, for my purposes, in the 1960s, and a theory of cultural tendencies in contemporary life. For this essay, I will assume that postmodernism is a fact, a part of everyday reality, and that it differs substantially from modernism. The main body of this essay will consist of a discussion of the fundamental factors which define Los Angeles as postmodern space. I will focus on particularities that distinguish Los Angeles from other cities, most of all from those which have not yet crossed the threshold of postmodernity. Firstly, I will investigate the geographical instability of the city; the fact that it is threatened to be annihilated by natural forces such as earthquakes and the desert. Secondly, I will address the idea of the city as a desert, its horizontality, its vastness, its lack of centre. Thirdly, the structure on this flat surface will be addressed; the freeways as an arterial network, and the structure of segregating walls, both literal and metaphorical. Finally, I will conclude by investigating the parallels between the idea of instability that underlies all of the factors I discuss, and the notion of the unstable in postmodernism.
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