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"Crawling through these cracks" : the apocalyptic body in contemporary literatures of transgression Foster, Wendy Christine

Abstract

Apocalypse narratives and their categorical perversions provide a symptomatology of Western cultural subject-formation, and chart out the subject’s anxious response to his own desire for transcendence. Through close readings of four contemporary American authors: Kathy Acker, Bret Easton Ellis, Chuck Palahniuk, and Hubert Selby Jr., the generic matrices of apocalypse as a formal literary and cultural structure (or set of structures) are examined. These contemporary apocalypses, contextualized with and against their historical antecedents, the Book of Daniel and Revelation, disclose what I theorize as a logic of the terminal subject--the transgressive confrontation of the subject with his own condition of disappearance. Mobilizing psychoanalytic and poststructuralist critical legacies I seek, here, to open up the field of apocalypse studies to a renewed investigatory practice, which would engage both the theological as well as secular representational content of end-time practices and discourse.

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