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«Obscene Fantasies»

Bethman, Brenda

«Obscene Fantasies»

Elfriede Jelinek’s Generic Perversions

Series: Austrian Culture - Volume 44

Year of Publication: 2011

New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. XII, 136 pp.
ISBN 978-1-4331-1060-3 hb.  (Hardcover)

Weight: 0.330 kg, 0.728 lbs

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Book synopsis

This book examines Elfriede Jelinek’s investigation of Austria’s and Western Europe’s «obscene fantasies» through her «perversion» of generic forms in three of her best-known texts (Die Liebhaberinnen, Lust, and Die Klavierspielerin). Each chapter investigates a central psychoanalytic concept (alienation, jouissance, perversion, and sublimation) and reads a Jelinek text in relation to the genre that it is perverting, exposing the «obscene fantasies» that lie at its heart. This book argues that the disruption of genres is one of Jelinek’s most significant literary contributions, with her works functioning to create a «negative aesthetics» as opposed to a positive reworking of generic forms.

About the author(s)/editor(s)

Brenda Bethman is Director of the Women’s Center at the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she also holds appointments as the Acting Director of Women’s and Gender Studies and as Affiliated Faculty in German in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures. She has presented and published on women’s literature, Elfriede Jelinek, Marlene Streeruwitz, Ingeborg Bachmann, and feminism in a variety of venues. She holds a BA in German literature from Dickinson College, an MA in German literature from Temple University, and a PhD in modern German studies as well as a Graduate Certificate in advanced feminist studies from UMass Amherst.


Austrian Culture. Vol. 44
General Editor: Margarete Lamb-Faffelberger