Irrational paratext : manipulated paratext in the gothic postmodern novels house of leaves, the adventuress, and the three incestuous sisters.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Arts
Mark Z. Danielewski's House of Leaves and Audrey Niffenegger's two visual novels The Three Incestuous Sisters and The Adventuress all contain examples of manipulated paratext - paratexts being the devices involved in the presentation of the text such as titles, author names, font, introductions, illustrations, appendices, advertising, and interviews. The emphasis these authors place on these usually inconspicuous devices is an expression of the irrational themes contained within these texts. The irrational is an underlying theme of the Gothic genre and through examining the use of manipulated paratexts this thesis demonstrates how these texts make use of the irrational Gothic elements that are present within the postmodern. While Danielewski and Niffenegger both have these similar themes, the effects they create are extremely different. Niffenegger creates écriture feminine, or feminine writing as described by Hélène Cixous, by prioritising illustrations that feature marginalised bodily expression in order to convey the narrative rather than text. Danielewski, on the other hand, produces a text that is a pure pastiche of Gothic and postmodern devices in order to emulate the postmodern media in its creation of hyperreality and to reproduce the sensation of a media that possesses and changes its consumers. House of Leaves is the instigator for a number of similar texts that have been published since the turn of the millennium which will be considered an emerging literary movement.