«Obscene Fantasies»

Elfriede Jelinek’s Generic Perversions

by Brenda Bethman (Author)
Monographs XII, 136 Pages
Series: Austrian Culture, Volume 44


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.


XII, 136
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2012 (February)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2011. XII, 136 pp.

Biographical notes

Brenda Bethman (Author)

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.


Title: «Obscene Fantasies»