Persistent Link:
http://hdl.handle.net/10150/185899
Title:
Epilepsy as a pharmakon in Dostoevsky's fiction.
Author:
Gedney, Curtis Lester.
Issue Date:
1992
Publisher:
The University of Arizona.
Rights:
Copyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.
Abstract:
As the de-privileged term in an oppositional structure, disease is understood culturally as a "poison" in the same way Jacques Derrida has shown writing to be so understood in philosophical discourse. Nevertheless, Dostoevsky's epilepsy, with its opposite but connected expressions of ecstatic aura and agonizing fit, maintains a posture of ambivalence in his life and works, and thus functions in his fiction as what Plato calls a pharmakon. Dostoevsky's representation of reality in terms of a dialectic in which "contradictions stand side by side" thus parallels the structure of his characters', and his own, epilepsy. In each of the novels where epilepsy is portrayed--The Landlady, The Insulted and Injured, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov--epilepsy appears as both "poison" and "remedy," and the question of epilepsy, like the nature of writing in Derrida, remains undecidable. These novels also hint at Julia Kristeva's view of the aura as a form of sublimation leading to forgiveness and a reinscription of the self. This further dimension links Dostoevsky's disease, and his reconstruction of it, to his literary work. Ultimately, the disease cannot be relegated to a space "outside" the cure or the self, but remains on the "inside." As a pharmakon, epilepsy subverts health/disease and mind/body oppositions within these texts. A discussion of the treatment of Dostoevsky's epilepsy in medical, psychoanalytic, and literary critical discourse even shows how this pharmakon subverts these texts as well.
Type:
text; Dissertation-Reproduction (electronic)
Keywords:
Literature.; Philosophy.
Degree Name:
Ph.D.
Degree Level:
doctoral
Degree Program:
English; Graduate College
Degree Grantor:
University of Arizona
Advisor:
Hogle, Jerrold

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.language.isoenen_US
dc.titleEpilepsy as a pharmakon in Dostoevsky's fiction.en_US
dc.creatorGedney, Curtis Lester.en_US
dc.contributor.authorGedney, Curtis Lester.en_US
dc.date.issued1992en_US
dc.publisherThe University of Arizona.en_US
dc.rightsCopyright © is held by the author. Digital access to this material is made possible by the University Libraries, University of Arizona. Further transmission, reproduction or presentation (such as public display or performance) of protected items is prohibited except with permission of the author.en_US
dc.description.abstractAs the de-privileged term in an oppositional structure, disease is understood culturally as a "poison" in the same way Jacques Derrida has shown writing to be so understood in philosophical discourse. Nevertheless, Dostoevsky's epilepsy, with its opposite but connected expressions of ecstatic aura and agonizing fit, maintains a posture of ambivalence in his life and works, and thus functions in his fiction as what Plato calls a pharmakon. Dostoevsky's representation of reality in terms of a dialectic in which "contradictions stand side by side" thus parallels the structure of his characters', and his own, epilepsy. In each of the novels where epilepsy is portrayed--The Landlady, The Insulted and Injured, The Idiot, and The Brothers Karamazov--epilepsy appears as both "poison" and "remedy," and the question of epilepsy, like the nature of writing in Derrida, remains undecidable. These novels also hint at Julia Kristeva's view of the aura as a form of sublimation leading to forgiveness and a reinscription of the self. This further dimension links Dostoevsky's disease, and his reconstruction of it, to his literary work. Ultimately, the disease cannot be relegated to a space "outside" the cure or the self, but remains on the "inside." As a pharmakon, epilepsy subverts health/disease and mind/body oppositions within these texts. A discussion of the treatment of Dostoevsky's epilepsy in medical, psychoanalytic, and literary critical discourse even shows how this pharmakon subverts these texts as well.en_US
dc.typetexten_US
dc.typeDissertation-Reproduction (electronic)en_US
dc.subjectLiterature.en_US
dc.subjectPhilosophy.en_US
thesis.degree.namePh.D.en_US
thesis.degree.leveldoctoralen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineEnglishen_US
thesis.degree.disciplineGraduate Collegeen_US
thesis.degree.grantorUniversity of Arizonaen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHogle, Jerrolden_US
dc.contributor.committeememberAiken, Susan Hardyen_US
dc.contributor.committeememberKonick, Willisen_US
dc.identifier.proquest9234896en_US
dc.identifier.oclc702463397en_US
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