Outside of a logocentric discourse?: The case of (post)modern Czech women's writing

Matonoha, Jan (2007) Outside of a logocentric discourse?: The case of (post)modern Czech women's writing. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

This thesis aims to examine the nature of the relationship between the kind of textual politics, here referred to as a "women's writing", and the dominant discursive practice of our culture, whose logic and functioning is best encapsulated in the Derridean term "phallogocentrism". Women's writing, then, is here defined as that kind of writing which locates itself outside the domain and logic of a phallogocentric discourse, trying to challenge and undermine its hegemonic status. In this respect, women's writing is not delimited by the sex of an author, but by his/her gendered subjectivity, by his/her position within the discursive formation and his/her attitude to hegemonic language practices. Thus, besides the Czech writers Milada Souckova, Vera Linhartova, Sylvie Richterova and Daniela Hodrova, the writing of a male author Bohumil Hrabal has been also introduced into the thesis. Women's writing, as understood in this thesis, a) critically reflects upon the role of language as a decisive medium for our thinking b) questions the notion of subjectivity, which is usually equalled with the Descartean Ego and is conceived as an autonomous and sovereign entity. The authors discussed here are aware that we all are inevitably "inserted" into language. Therefore, they highlight the formative role of language by means of an ironic, palimpsest-like re-writing of conventional literary narratives, as well as by means of textual politics defined by a constant displacement of meaning. The critique of the phallogocentric concept of subjectivity is on the one hand informed by the decentering of the identity of the narrating subject, and on the other by one's awareness of one's epistemic situatedness within a particular discursive space. The process of language mediation within women's writing as I see it takes the form of a radical reassessment of conventional genres such as, for example, autobiography. Within the autobiographical texts discussed here, fragmented topologies of memory provide an ambiguous space for an attempted integration of a discontinuous identity. Women's writing also highlights the fact that "Otherness" remains unintelligible within the logic and practice of the hegemonic phallogocentric discourse. The logic and economy of women's writing is determined by the tension between its drive towards non-phallogocentric discourse, and its paradoxical, yet inevitable dependence on symbolic codes and hegemonic discursive practices. The subversive potential of women's writing, as understood here, is thus not situated within a space seen as a radical "beyond" or "outside", but it is directed inwards, into the fissures of the phallogocentric discourse itself.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Jan Culik
Keywords: Slavic literature, East European studies
Date of Award: 2007
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2007-73998
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
Last Modified: 23 Sep 2019 15:33
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/73998

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