Out of Touch: Skin Tropes and Identities in Woolf, Ellison, Pynchon, and Acker

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  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2002-12-06
  • Publisher: Routledge

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Out of Touchinvestigates how skin has become a crucial but disavowed figure in twentieth-century literature, theory, and cultural criticism. These discourses reveal the extent to which skin figures in the cultural effect of changes in visual technologies, a development argued by critics to be at the heart of the contest between surface and depth and, by extension, Western globalization and identity politics. The skin has a complex history as a metaphorical terrain over which ideological wars are fought, identity is asserted through modification as in tattooing, and meaning is inscribed upon the human being. Yet even as interventions on the skin characterize much of this history, fantasy and science fiction literature and film trumpet skin's passing in the cybernetic age, and feminist theory calls for abandoning the skin as a hostile boundary.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements vii
Preface ix
Introduction 1(14)
Skin's Eclipses in Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway
Materializing Invisibility as X-Ray Technology: Skin Matters in Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man
Skin Harvests: Automation and Chromatism in Thomas Pynchon's ``The Secret Integration'' and Gravity's Rainbow
Scratching the Sensory Surface in Kathy Acker's Empire of the Senseless
Conclusion 119(12)
Notes 131(24)
Bibliography 155(10)
Index 165

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