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The Leprous Man

A Psychoanalytical Investigation into Stephen Donaldson’s Fantasy Novels

Kate Simons

This book explores the extraordinarily violent and abusive nature of Stephen Donaldson’s male protagonists. Thomas Covenant of The Chronicles is a leper, rotten and physically collapsing. In Mordant’s Need and The Gap series the male characters are moral lepers. The Gap offers a Janus-faced male lead in the form of two men who are both multiple rapists. The male hero in Mordant’s Need is outwardly socially acceptable but his alter egos are overly corporeal and sexually obsessed. In spite of their unappealing condition, all these protagonists yearn to be loved. Using the psychoanalytical theories of Julia Kristeva, this book identifies reasons for Donaldson’s derogatory characterization and provides an insight into why these novels cannot allow their male protagonists to establish viable love relationships. This study also explains why maternal characters are jettisoned from the narratives, considers the problematic nature of father figures and examines the incipient undertow of psychosis.

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