Visualizing Virtual Space In Modern And Postmodern Literature
This dissertation, Visualizing Virtual Space in Modern and Postmodern Literature, explores the nature of the virtual as it relates to Henri Lefebvreâ€™s conception of spatial practice in literature and culture. The goal of this analysis is to locate a site within theories of space for the inclusion of the postmodern object narratives that have emerged in contemporary culture. In order to accomplish this goal, I have created a semantic square that configures Lefebvre's three conceptions of space with a new fourth term, integral space. The emergence of integral space is developed through the analysis of fiction by four major authors: William Gibson, Marcel Proust, James Joyce and David Foster Wallace. Each of these authors engages the virtual through a different narrative approach. Gibson uses the virtual to create the spatial practice of his characters. Proust uses the virtual to undermine the representations of space inherent in the autobiography. Joyce virtualizes his main character, through the narration, in order to build representational spaces. Finally, Wallace uses the virtual to create integral spaces of cultural critique for the subject of his text. By situating these four authors at vertices of the semantic square, the inherent dialectical conflicts among their positions are revealed. The exploration of these conflicts reveals the cultural power of integral space within contemporary practice. Integral spaces emerge through the postmodern process of cultural accumulation. The power of these spaces is their ability to reveal to their subjects the nature of the spatial practice that directs their everyday lives. The aesthetics of integral practice are firmly rooted in the later theories of Theodor Adorno. Adorno's aesthetics operate by negating the negation of identity in the subject. The synthesis of Adornian aesthetics with integral space allows the subject to create object narratives from the fractured materials of postmodern culture. This analysis uses the space created by this synthesis to explore the agency of the subject in contemporary spatial practice. Ultimately, integral spaces will be developed as the primary arena of spatial understanding in both contemporary literature and spatial practice.