“Death also lives”: A Semiology of Death in Contemporary Female Latin-American Authors

Marie Devlieger

Research output: ThesisPhD Thesis

Abstract

This research project analyses various representations of death in four novels by a new generation of successful female authors in Latin-American literature. Following the latest work of Hélène Cixous, a key figure in feminist studies, I will examine how these different representations challenge the patriarchal representation of death as violence and power in order to accentuate a more complex, nuanced interpretation that accentuates the relation with difference or alterity. As such, I will carry out a semiological analysis of death in which I will argue that death as a semiological signifier reveals profound questions regarding the nature of writing and literature. While Cixous’ methodology has been used before, critics tend to focus on her earlier work from the 70s and 80s during which she coined the concept of "écriture féminine" which entails a writing based on the recognition and exploration of alterity. Despite the growing interest in her more recent work, the preoccupation with death, loss and the explicit connection with writing which characterises her latest texts has not yet received proper academic attention. This research will offer a novel perspective on Cixous’ thinking by applying her most recent work to contemporary female voices in Latin-American literature, all of whom display a clear intention to move beyond the phallocentric desire for violence and power in their representations of death.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Atkinson, Douglas, Co-Supervisor
  • Castilleja, Diana, Supervisor
Place of PublicationBrussels
Publication statusPublished - 2024

Keywords

  • Death in Literature

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