Toronto Metropolitan University
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Kathy Acker's french twist : translating sex in the Blood and guts trilogy

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posted on 2021-06-08, 07:32 authored by Melissa Tanti
Arriving on the New York literary scene in the late 1970's, Kathy Acker has been hailed as a punk beatnik virtuoso. Her style of writing has been referred to as "equal parts gossip, kinky sex and high theory." Her stylistics have been eagerly digested according to the tenets of postmodern discourse while her protagonists are held up as proof of her generation's rage against "control societies." The transgressive sexuality enacted in her texts, including sexual masochism, sexual violence and self-mutilation, is frequently interpreted as anarchic attempts to circumvent this logic. I purport to show that these tactics do not, in fact, spring from a reactionary politics. Rather, Acker is attempting to convey an abject carnal sexuality that struggles for expression within the name-of-the-father logic that structures conventional language and a lack of alternative feminist propositions. Key Words: Kathy Acker, feminism, literary criticism, French feminism, sexuality, queer theory, linguistics, translation, visuality, third wave, mode or modalities





  • Master of Arts


  • Communication and Culture

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type

  • Thesis