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Language in Transformation: Postmodern Notions in David Malouf's An Imaginary Life
Linnaeus University, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, School of Language and Literature.
2011 (English)Independent thesis Basic level (degree of Bachelor), 10 credits / 15 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

This essay focuses on a postmodern reading of An Imaginary Life by David Malouf. It argues that language is a central theme in the novel and that Ovid’s transformation corresponds to his changing attitude towards different languages. According to Karin Hansson, Ovid’s transformation is divided into three stages. First, he longs for Latin, then he acquires Getic and in the end he seeks the languages of nature. The essay shows that stage two, Ovid’s acquisition of Getic, induces the deconstruction of the traditional high culture-low culture dichotomy in the novel. Language is understood as a representative of culture, and when Ovid considers Getic equal to Latin, the distinction between high culture and low culture collapses. Stage three, Ovid’s relationship with the wild child and his acquisition of the instinctive languages of nature, leads to the deconstruction of the animal-human dichotomy. The facts that the wild child transcends animality by gaining language and that Ovid wants to overcome human languages and immerse himself in nature promote a non-binary and multifaceted understanding of the human-animal relationship. To confirm its argument, the essay draws on Jacques Derrida’s ideas of language as well as his notions of the animal-human relationship.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. , p. 38
Keyword [en]
Malouf, An Imaginary Life, Ovid, language, transformation, postmodernism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:lnu:diva-10235OAI: oai:DiVA.org:lnu-10235DiVA, id: diva2:389583
Presentation
2011-01-11, 18:46
Uppsok
Humanities, Theology
Supervisors
Examiners
Available from: 2011-01-26 Created: 2011-01-19 Last updated: 2011-01-26Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
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Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
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  • de-DE
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  • en-US
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  • nn-NB
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More languages
Output format
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