The aesthetics of literary ressentiment in the works of Thomas Bernhard and Christine Lavant

Carr, Felix (2024) The aesthetics of literary ressentiment in the works of Thomas Bernhard and Christine Lavant. MPhil(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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This thesis identifies what I term an ‘aesthetics of ressentiment’ in the works of Thomas Bernhard (1931-1989) and Christine Lavant (1915-1973). Ressentiment, the philosophical term developed by Friedrich Nietzsche in On the Genealogy of Morality (1887) identifies a negative-psychological state that originates amongst the disenfranchised in response to historic oppression, playing a pivotal role in conceptions of moral justice and ethical revaluation. Though well studied within social sciences, psychoanalysis and political philosophy, ressentiment has received scant treatment across literary discourse. This thesis rectifies this neglected remit by resituating the concept of ressentiment as a deployable mode harnessed by Bernhard and Lavant, one that alludes to a form of post-war ressentiment specific to Austrian culture, and the nation’s desire to rewrite its troubled past. Via close literary analysis, this project explores ressentiment as a key to understanding how both writers address questions of morality, identity, memory, religion and generational guilt, showing how ressentiment generates specific types of cultural representation, (e.g. creative expressions of rage, negation and envy). Accordingly, this project establishes ressentiment’s role in the creation of literatures with a distinctively recalcitrant sensibility, updating the term in light of recent developments in the fields of memory studies, trauma studies, affect theory, feminist theory, psychoanalysis, and ecocriticism.

Item Type: Thesis (MPhil(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PR English literature
Colleges/Schools: College of Arts & Humanities > School of Critical Studies
Supervisor's Name: Kolocotroni, Dr. Vassiliki and Schonfield, Dr. Ernest
Date of Award: 2024
Depositing User: Theses Team
Unique ID: glathesis:2024-84116
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2024 14:07
Last Modified: 14 Mar 2024 14:09
Thesis DOI: 10.5525/gla.thesis.84116

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