Angel of anarchy, angel of desire, the work of Kathy Acker

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Steinborn, Tamara
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"Angel of Anarchy, Angel of Desire: The Work of Kathy Acker," addresses the notion of the postmodern subject and its highly contested place in the twentieth century, in light of poststructuralist and psychoanalytic theories of narrative, subjectivity and representation. The importance of psychoanalysis in determining the development of subject identity is explored by theorist Julia Kristeva. Her study of the 'subject in process' dialogizes the discourse of both postmodern and feminist ethics, making room for new conceptualizations of gender identity. Character development in the novels of Kathy Acker challenges traditional views of the Western unified subject and its evolution into a discursive site of theoretical debate. The psychoanalytic and poststructuralist theory of Julia Kristeva further refines this debate which Acker's novels 'Empire of the Senseless' and 'In Memoriam to Identity' open up. Kristeva's notion of the 'subject in process' lends insight into Acker's desire to find revolutionary potential within the postmodern subject of her texts. Through the work of both Acker and Kristeva, a new ethics of the subject is offered, pushing past the frustration and despair often encountered in postmodern fiction and theory.