Vico's walk

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2010
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. Access is restricted indefinitely. ----- This thesis consists of two parts, a creative writing section, ‘Vico’s Walk’ and a dissertation, ‘Avant-garde Nature Writing.’ ‘Vico’s Walk’ is a fragment of a larger work in progress. It has a first-person narrator who, following the death of her father has returned to Sydney, Australia after spending her adult life in London. On her daily walks in the local park with her father’s dog she works through loss, separation, childhood memories and fantasies. A manuscript belonging to her father also prompts imaginings and dreams that lead to an understanding of herself as inextricably indebted to history and place. Ultimately, connection with an ‘other’ in the form of the dog and the landscape in general leads from melancholy to joy and commitment. The dissertation is an examination of representations of human/more-than-human relationships. In particular, it is concerned with the movement, doubling and overlapping essential to the constitution of literary humanimal hybridity. The hybrid creatures of Greek mythology as portrayed in Ovid’s Metamorphoses provide examples of literary humanimality. The role accorded to Greek myths by Freud introduces a psychoanalytic component which also includes the later theories of D. W. Winnicott and Melanie Klein. Psychoanalytic notions of melancholia and the uncanny are used to explicate human disavowal of animality with its attendant dehumanisation and sense of loss. A central part of the thesis is the proposal for a need to regain an historically well-informed mythological base, in order to define and practice an avant-garde writing in relation to nature. A claim is therefore made for the centrality of Vichian philosophy in avant-garde nature writing. Consequently, the dissertation explores the theories of myth, metaphor and historical cycles of Giambattista Vico as a way of providing an overall structure in which the modem disconnection from myths and historical roots may be restored to create a literary ‘home’ for an articulate humanimality.
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