Angela Carter's The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman: A Subversive Cartesian Thought Experiment

Carter's novel revolves around two opposing characters and two opposing definitions of truth: Desidcrio and Dr Hoffman. Dr Hoffman commits himself to destabilize all the givens in the 'Enlightenment' civilization of Desiderio by breaking the spatial and temporal moulds and demarcations and by destroying all the symmetries in its logocentric thinking. He aims to create a civilization without the chains and structures of reason in an alternative site of existence filled with mirages and elements of phantasy. Against the backdrop of the problematic relation of reason to unreason, he interrogates the nature and function of the rational acts. Proposing another mode of consciousness, Dr Hoffman indulges in a Cartesian thought experiment in a subversive fashion and rethinks a fundamental Cartesian problematic: the ontological status of reality and identity, thus, the disjunction between imaginary and symbolic registers. This essay aims to give a Lacanian hearing to Hoffman's project which makes more sense from a Lacanian vantage point as he tries to open a gap in the symbolic register or create a disastrous disturbance in it, and tries to delete or distort the place of the shared Other, by creating a domain outside symbolization through imaginary distortions.


Bakır, Cahit; Alpakın Martınez Caro, Dürrin; Department of English Literature (2021-10)
This dissertation serves to examine one novel by the English writer Angela Carter and a collection of short stories and a novel by the Native American writer Sherman Alexie with regard to trickster discourse, these texts being Carter’s Nights at the Circus (1984), and Alexie’s The Lone Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven (1993) and Reservation Blues (1995). The study attempts to trace the presence of contradictory, paradoxical and peripheral figures of tricksters and trickster-like liminal figures in the s...
Representations of social classes in arabesk films
Avcı, Özgür; Erdoğan, Necmi; Department of Political Science and Public Administration (2004)
This thesis is an attempt to analyze the narrative structure of arabesk films which were made in the 1970s and the 1980s. Based on the idea that it is the poor/rich dichotomy which is foregrounded as the primary paradigm in arabesk films, this study tries to show how socio-cultural hierarchies are encoded in these films and how their narrative structure motivates the audience to perceive the films from a class perspective. On the basis of a generic background regarding melodramatic texts as well as a histor...
Endless pursuit realitythrough metadramatic devices in Tom Stoppard's plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real İnspector Hound and Travesties
Yedekçi, Esra; Arslan, Yedekçi; Department of English Literature (2010)
This thesis aims to investigate the question of reality in Tom Stoppard’s plays Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Inspector Hound, and Travesties. Each of these plays closely examines the nature of reality and certainty and shows Stoppard as the critique of grand narratives of Reality, Truth, and Art. By deconstructing these master narratives, Stoppard attempts to invalidate the convictions that reality is fixed and that art should faithfully reproduce the material world in which reality is pe...
A feminist subversion of gender binarism on cyborgian grounds through a critical analysis of cyberpunk fiction: Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Marge Piercy’s Body of Glass
Göksu, Deniz; Alpakın Martınez Caro, Dürrin; Department of English Literature (2019)
The aim of this thesis is to explore the transgressive role of cyborg as a posthuman subject in feminist cyberpunk fiction in destabilizing the socially constructed binarisms concerning humanness and gender stereotypes in Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and Marge Piercy’s Body of Glass. With the fall of Humanism, the taken-for-granted assumptions of Enlightenment mindset have begun to be unsettled by posthumanists. The problematization of what it means to be human set the ground for elucidating the artificialit...
Comparative discourse analyses of gender constructions in the novels of Robert Heinlein, Ursula Le Guin, Joanna Russ and Samuel Delany
Akçeşme, İfakat Banu; İçöz, Nursel; Department of English Literature (2010)
This dissertation examines the gendered discourses in the novels of the writers of different sexes/genders, Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, Ursula Le Guin’s The Left Hand of Darkness, Joanna Russ’ The Female Man and Samuel Delany`s Trouble on Triton: An Ambiguous Heterotopia. This study investigates how writers linguistically construct their characters as gendered/sexed beings as an effect of certain identity politics, ideologies and power structures. In order to do so, critical discourse anal...
Citation Formats
N. Birlik, “Angela Carter’s The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman: A Subversive Cartesian Thought Experiment,” FORUM FOR WORLD LITERATURE STUDIES, pp. 473–492, 2018, Accessed: 00, 2020. [Online]. Available: