The goal of this dissertation is to locate within the formal structure and phenomenological ambitions of the novel a ludic impulse, a longing-to-be-game. It does so by taking both modern novels and modern games and viewing them through the lens of formal realism, a technique innovated in the novel and tied to the rise of bourgeois individualism, seeing in both forms a shared goal of implanting a coherent subject within a legible world, one constituted by a distinctly modern epistemology. Games and novels are, then, both technologies for the production of subjectivity, and a comparative treatment reveals the many ways in which the two mediums are intertwined, each borrowing from the other to better approximate a coherent experience of being. The dissertation further explores the implications of this subjectification process, tracing its potentials and problematics, and in so doing proposes an expansion of the definition of realism to encompass works of fantasy, science-fiction, and counterfactual history, all well-represented in both novels and games. It thus posits an alternative mode of realism, one which is generative of novel subject-positions, and which provides a model for resisting sovereign constructions of selfhood.
|Advisor:||Schor, Hilary M.|
|Commitee:||Boone, Joseph A., Lippit, Akira M.|
|School:||University of Southern California|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 80/09(E), Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||Comparative literature, Modern literature, British and Irish literature|
|Keywords:||Games, Modernity, Novels, Realism, Subjectivity, Video games|
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