Performing liminality, Kazuo Ishiguro's "The Remains of the Day" and Anita Brookner's "Look at Me"
Penner, Tom Philip
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This thesis devises an interdisciplinary approach to literature that coordinates aspects of Reader-Response theory and cultural anthropology--specifically, showing how Wolfgang Iser's concep ualizing of a "literary anthropology" can be usefully supplemented by anthropologist Victor Turner's liminal theory through the reading, of two modern British novels. The first chapter of the thesis outlines the various ways in which Iser's formulation of Reader-Response theory can be conjoined with Turner's analysis of ritual to produce a performative approach to literature. In the second, this approach is employed in a reading of Kazuo Ishiguro's novel 'The Remains of the Day,' suggesting that the protagonist's journey of self-discovery in many ways mirrors that of the reader. In the third chapter, this performative approach is further applied in a reading of Anita Brookner's 'Look at Me,' a text suffused with the kind of self-reflexive elements foregrounded in both Iser and Turner's theories.