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On Babel/Babel on : literature of the insane

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dc.contributor.author Fish PH en
dc.date.accessioned 2016-09-22T09:17:36Z
dc.date.available 2016-09-22T09:17:36Z
dc.date.submitted 1989 en
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/53873
dc.description.abstract Explores the possibilities offered by Foucault's Madness and Civilisation , and examines and extends some of his ideas into the field of literature. By way of introduction two paintings of Babel by Pieter Bruegel the elder are shown to offer two opposed ways in which madness can be read: the Rotterdam version depicts madness as threat, as something alien, whereas the Vienna canvas perceives madness in more accessible terms, as something intrinsic to the human condition. The edifice of Babel designates the site where madness breaks from the horizontal plane to assert its particular verticality. The verticality achieved by the madman is described according to three inter-related aspects: a changing perception of time, of space and the creation of a unique language guided by a unique reasoning. Nietzsche's Thus Spoke Zarathustra is examined, focusing on the way in which Zarathustra's search for madness was finally consummated in Nietzsche's insanity. The same co-ordinates are applied to William Cowper. His contemporary, Christopher Smart, presents an opposing experience of insanity. He generates a language of praise of such abandon that he creates for himself a space, a poem big enough to accommodate the poet. The study examines two of Samuel Beckett s early novels, Murphy and Watt . For each of these protagonists a change occurs that ruptures the old familiar world. For Beckett, however, madness does not end here, it continues insinuating itself trough the mechanisms of reason and language. In conclusion it is suggested that it is the marginalised status of madness that allows it an ability to subvert language. The verticality of madness refuses language the certainty and the reasoned clarity it most desires. en
dc.language English en
dc.subject English literature en
dc.subject More than one sub-field en
dc.title On Babel/Babel on : literature of the insane en
dc.type Masters degree en
dc.description.degree MA en


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