Date of Graduation

5-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts in English (MA)

Degree Level

Graduate

Department

English

Advisor

Sean Dempsey

Committee Member

Yajaira Padilla

Second Committee Member

Robin Roberts

Abstract

This project traces a line of developing subjectivity in the history of mediation. Using Jacque Lacan’s mirror stage to emphasize the relationship between social identification and self formation, I suggest literary virtual realities further our understanding of human-technology relationships. Examining the evolution of eighteenth and nineteenth century sympathetic consciousness reveals a subjectivity intricately bound to both cognitive and physical spaces. The emergence of the virtual body complicates this consciousness by obscuring physicality and mixing man and machine. To trace this consciousness this project looks at the work of Jane Austen, Virginia Woolf, and a contemporary television writer, Charlie Brooker. These authors utilize virtual spaces to disrupt self-possession and thus enable new subjectivities to emerge. In light of increasing technologies and globalization, this project raises questions about an emerging digital subjectivity.

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