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Schizo-gothic subjectivity: H.P. Lovecraft and William S. Burroughs

Crellin, Jason Ian Boyd (2014) Schizo-gothic subjectivity: H.P. Lovecraft and William S. Burroughs. Doctoral thesis (PhD), Manchester Metropolitan University.

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Abstract

My thesis applies the concept of schizoanalysis developed in Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari’s Capitalism and Schizophrenia project to the reading of subjectivity in Gothic fiction, via case studies of texts by H.P. Lovecraft and William S. Burroughs. I argue that Deleuze and Guattari’s critique of psychoanalysis provides new perspectives on the ongoing influence and effects of that theory within the field of Gothic criticism. Interrogating this influence, I develop the concept of a ‘Schizo-Gothic’ modality which provides the means to detect previously occluded dynamics of schizoid becoming and subjective multiplicity within Gothic fiction. I argue that this approach opens up new conceptual and methodological possibilities for Gothic criticism, which I then apply to my analysis of exemplary texts by my selected authors. While my readings are designed to contribute to the growing body of scholarship surrounding Lovecraft and Burroughs, they also work to highlight the more widespread presence of schizoid subjective operations within the Gothic mode. Considering this force of schizoid subjectivity in the light of Deleuze and Guattari’s analysis of subjectivation in the modern capitalist socius, my thesis thus offers a theoretical intervention into the field of Gothic Studies, providing new ways to understand the mode’s engagement with the politics of subjectivity.

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