Memory, Interpellation, and Assemblage: Multivalent Subjectivity in the Novels of Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, and Evelyn Waugh
Horacki, Michael Joshua 1982-
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This project assesses assemblage theory and attempts to optimize it for the study of modernist literature. The first stage of this process examines contemporary assemblage theory to determine the extent to which it is able to account for the various inter-relationships between individuals, the groups they form, and the power structures that emerge from but act as constraints upon interpersonal relationships, especially as they appear in modernist texts; the second stage uses this modified version of assemblage theory to respond to the critical discourses surrounding the writing of Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, and Evelyn Waugh. Ultimately, this project argues that assemblage theory needs to be modified in four ways to account for the depictions of subjects navigating multiple assemblages that Woolf, Orwell, and Waugh provide. First, assemblage theory requires a more robust model of interpellation than is implied by the term “territorialization” – one that accounts for the semiotic element of interpellation, wherein the individual interprets his or her social setting to decide what type of action is most appropriate. Second, this semiotic element suggests the need to disregard Manuel DeLanda’s insistence that only “valid historical actors” should be treated with assemblage theory, as Woolf, Orwell, and Waugh all show individuals acting on behalf of assemblages that do not exist as ontologically valid entities according to DeLanda’s standards. Third, the three modernist authors show the value of treating Nietzsche’s account of the Apollonian and Dionysian as a model of assemblage by enabling a discussion of the motivations behind several of the most powerful forms of interpellation. Finally, these modernist texts suggest it is important for assemblage theory to distinguish between different scales of personal and collective memory to be able to account for the different registers of individual and collective experience that motivate group activity and signal assemblages’ temporal parameters.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)
CommitteeDeCoste, Marcel; Banco, Lindsey; Meyers, Mark; Liu, Yin
Copyright DateJune 2019