Dorothy Nelson’s work, the two novels In Night’s City (1982) and Tar and Feathers (1987), deserve renewed consideration in the context of Irish Women’s writing and experimental fiction of the late XXth century. Her concern with experimental writing is consubstantial, not merely instrumental, to her attempt at bringing forth to the public discourse the hitherto extreme, occluded theme of child and female abuse and incest as the darkest expression of the social and individual malaise in a traditionally Catholic and patriarchal context. The strained, challenging obscurity of narrative structure and style is foregrounded as a structuring principle and as the most conspicuous characteristic of her texts. Her novels, particularly, In Night’s City, are intensely focalised on the body as the core and unifying theme, image, source of rhetorical strategies, structuring feature and dominant semantic field. The focus on domestic and social violence and the stylistic specificities of Nelson’s novels can be fruitfully examined in the light of Kristeva’s notion of the abject and of trauma fiction, which further illuminates Nelson’s role in the Irish writing of the last quarter of the 20th century, among those writers who engage with forms of formal experimentalism while bringing controversial and hidden topics into the arena of public discourse.

“Dorothy Nelson's abject Families: In Night’s City and Tar and Feathers”

GEFTER WONDRICH, ROBERTA
2013

Abstract

Dorothy Nelson’s work, the two novels In Night’s City (1982) and Tar and Feathers (1987), deserve renewed consideration in the context of Irish Women’s writing and experimental fiction of the late XXth century. Her concern with experimental writing is consubstantial, not merely instrumental, to her attempt at bringing forth to the public discourse the hitherto extreme, occluded theme of child and female abuse and incest as the darkest expression of the social and individual malaise in a traditionally Catholic and patriarchal context. The strained, challenging obscurity of narrative structure and style is foregrounded as a structuring principle and as the most conspicuous characteristic of her texts. Her novels, particularly, In Night’s City, are intensely focalised on the body as the core and unifying theme, image, source of rhetorical strategies, structuring feature and dominant semantic field. The focus on domestic and social violence and the stylistic specificities of Nelson’s novels can be fruitfully examined in the light of Kristeva’s notion of the abject and of trauma fiction, which further illuminates Nelson’s role in the Irish writing of the last quarter of the 20th century, among those writers who engage with forms of formal experimentalism while bringing controversial and hidden topics into the arena of public discourse.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2634734
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