Prophet of the postmodern : the problem of authenticity in the works of Philip K. Dick
My project is an examination of the concept of authenticity, as it is problematized in the works of Philip K. Dick; specifically, in his Hugo Award-winning The Man in the High Castle (1962) and in his best-selling novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? (1968). Dick believes that authenticity is essential for human existence, but finds the concept problematized by technologies which make possible increasingly perfect reproductions and replications, as well as by the effect these technologies have on the human subject. Furthermore, these technologies are linked to the economic mode of advanced consumerism.Taking my lead from Fredric Jameson and the contributors to the journal Science-Fiction Studies, I view Dick's work as a form of cultural criticism, and an engagement with postmodernism. In this light, the problem of authenticity in Dick's work is revealed as symptomatic of his criticism of mass, consumer culture. My thesis therefore becomes an examination of Dick's relationship to postmodernism, with a special focus on how that relationship affects his dealings with the idea of authenticity.
theory, postmodernism, science fiction, American literature
Master of Arts (M.A.)