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The hotel in postmodern literature and film


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Blackwood, YMS 2005 , 'The hotel in postmodern literature and film', PhD thesis, University of Tasmania.

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The Hotel in Postmodern Literature and Film
This thesis examines postmodern literature and film set in hotels. It argues that the
hotel— in its fictional and cultural manifestations —is a privileged site in the playing
out of postmodern anxieties. In particular, it demonstrates that novels and films set in
the hotel use this space to explore concerns of multiplicity (both in narrative and
subjectivity); the uncanny; gender; the (post-Freudian) unconscious; and the search
for intimacy and authenticity in a globalised late-capitalist society.
The argument is informed by a number of postmodern theorists, whose work is
outlined in the introduction and the first chapter. Fredric Jameson's infamous
experiences in the Bonaventure Hotel, Marc Auge's theory of "non-places," Anne
Friedberg's notion of the "mobilized and virtual gaze," concepts from Gilles Deleuze
and Felix Guattari's work such as territorialisation and the monad, and Deleuze's
theories of cinema are used throughout the thesis to facilitate an investigation of the
hotel's function within the primary texts and within postmodernity in general.
Postmodern thinking on the hotel is largely based on male spatial experience. I use
feminist theorists such as Friedberg, Janet Wolff, and Alice Jardine to counter this and
to explore the notion of a "room of one's own" in the hotel. A range of hotel-based literary and filmic texts from the last half-century are
examined. Whilst I largely use postmodern narratives, I also draw on some modernist
texts (such as the film Last Year at Marienbad) because of their close relationship to
postmodern thought. Relevant works by film-makers such as David Lynch, Stanley
Kubrick, the Coen brothers, Jim Jarmusch and Sofia Coppola are analysed, along with
written texts by Haruki Murakami, Kazuo Ishiguro, Steven Millhauser, Michael
Cunningham, Michel Houellebecq, Lucy Frost and Marion Halligan. Through
detailed readings of these texts, I explain why explorations of postmodern concerns
are repeatedly housed in the hotel.
The hotel narratives analysed in this thesis provide evidence that the hotel is a key site
in the interaction of subjectivity and space in postmodernity, and is an "analogon" (to
use Jameson's term) of contemporary experience. Movement from home is a dominant experience in postmodernity and the narratives analysed in this thesis evoke
both the anxieties and pleasures of being away from home. Stories of the hotel
highlight the complexity of homeliness in postmodernity where, as Auge claims,
home is "everywhere and nowhere."

Item Type: Thesis - PhD
Authors/Creators:Blackwood, YMS
Keywords: Hotels in motion pictures, Hotels in literature, Postmodernism (Literature)
Copyright Holders: The Author
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Copyright 2005 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright
owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We
would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s).

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Thesis (PhD)--University of Tasmania, 2005.

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