Home » Contingencies and Masterly Fictions: Countertextuality in Dickens, Contemporary Fiction and Theory by Lauren Watson
Contingencies and Masterly Fictions: Countertextuality in Dickens, Contemporary Fiction and Theory Lauren Watson

Contingencies and Masterly Fictions: Countertextuality in Dickens, Contemporary Fiction and Theory

Lauren Watson

Published June 1st 2010
ISBN : 9781443820745
Hardcover
280 pages
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 About the Book 

This book establishes deconstructive dialogues between texts which are generically, chronologically and stylistically very different. Each chapter aligns one of Dickenss later novels with a work of contemporary literature and a post structuralistMoreThis book establishes deconstructive dialogues between texts which are generically, chronologically and stylistically very different. Each chapter aligns one of Dickenss later novels with a work of contemporary literature and a post structuralist theoretical text. Working from the premise of Derridas contre, the relationship developed between these texts is not so much intertextual as countertextual: each text re-enacts the procedures of its counterparts, simultaneously rearticulating and interrogating their status. In this triangular mode of reading, the contact zone between countertexts becomes the site on which new readings are generated, readings that use the ambivalent relationship between writings to mark an analogous self-difference within writing itself. This productive self difference is described as a negotiation of the contradictory drives of signification, a strategic management of the masterly and the contingent. This book argues that Dickenss texts perform their negotiations in an acutely strenuous manner, amplifying instability and exposing the means of literary production. This lack of discipline proves contagious as the reader re enacts the texts spasmodic shifts between mastery and contingency. As surrogate Dickensian readers in the countertextual economy, the contemporary novel and post structuralist theory also display this instability an effect which allows this study to develop not only a theory of poetics but a poetics of theory. This dramatic self difference is not simply restricted to writing, however. In later chapters, this study examines how racial and gender identities are also marked by ambivalence, and how their instability is exacerbated after contact with a Dickensian contre. In conclusion, the work is itself submitted to a Dickensian reading. The author examines how the studys own manoeuvres have been exposed through contact with many of the texts analysed within it, and how this dialogue deconstructs the ideal of academic writing.