Abjektion und Metamorphose - Metamorphose und Abjektion: Verekelungbilder des Weiblichen in zeitgenössicher österreichischer Literatur
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In this thesis, I examine the figure of the “disgusting woman” in contemporary Austrian literature. I begin by developing a theoretical orientation to disgust and the disgusting woman, drawing from works by Winfried Menninghaus, Julia Kristeva, Judith Butler, and Theodor Adorno. Next, I use this theoretical framework to interpret three prominent texts of contemporary Austrian literature: Barbara Frischmuth’s “Otter,” Christoph Ransmayr’s Die letzte Welt, and Elfriede Jelinek’s Die Klavierspielerin. Ultimately, my analysis yields three compelling insights. First, through literary interpretation, disgust can be shown to operate at a cultural level to exclude and oppress women. Second, literary texts can describe and reveal, in a way purely theoretical works cannot, the visceral, embodied effects of disgust on human subjects—and on women in particular. Finally, and more optimistically, many of those cultural practices which exclude and oppress women might be transformed through critical engagement with the phenomenon of disgust.