Monday, January 23, 2012

An interesting thesis

There's a brand new PhD thesis out in the ether, and it's a very interesting one:
The Politics of Security and the Art of Judgment in the Writings of Herman Melville and Janet Frame by Philip Loosemore of the University of Toronto.

The abstract, and a link to the thesis, can be found here:

Here is the first paragraph of the introduction, which gives a good flavour of the author's approach:

"The purpose of this dissertation is to examine the idea of political judgment as it relates to the imperative of political security in the literary art of two major writers, Herman Melville and Janet Frame, who, though rarely if ever paired together in critical studies, shed a good deal of light on one another not only in terms of political insight, but also in terms of narrative and stylistic technique. In each of the chapters that follow, I explore, from one angle or another, how Melville and Frame question the mechanisms, frameworks, and effects of the power of judgment as it relates to issues of violence and political security."

How refreshing it is to see Frame's heightened political awareness under consideration. In a later chapter, Loosemore observes:

"Of course, the idea that Frame's work marks a "poetic resistance" to conformity, to techno-bureaucratic domination, and so on, is well established, if it is not in fact the underlying assumption of most criticism on Frame. What has not been dwelt on, to my knowledge, is how Frame responded to the specific discourse of nuclear power and political security in the Pacific; what her insights into this discourse offer in terms of a concept of potentiality that pushes against the "exploitative, ordering attitude" that underpins technological domination; finally, what it is, specifically and in formalist terms, about her imaginative search that yields this concept of potentiality."

No comments: