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Banished From Themselves: Barriers to Recognition in James Baldwin's Early Fiction

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title
Banished From Themselves: Barriers to Recognition in James Baldwin's Early Fiction
author
Pearl, Joseph Jonathan
abstract
This thesis aims to incorporate recent advancements in psychoanalytic theory into the critical conversation surrounding James Baldwin. In light of the author’s remaining relevance, I seek to assess his place in the literary canon through Jessica Benjamin’s major 2017 publication of Beyond Doer and Done To. A slight contingency of modern critics have begun to engage with the relational psychoanalytic and philosophical theories of recognition. Several Baldwin critics, such as David Jenkins, have turned to draw Baldwin as a resource for those “wishing to develop the themes, concepts, and ontologies underlying philosophies of recognition.” Meanwhile, analysts like Jenny James have advanced the discussion of Benjamin’s theory into Baldwin’s fiction, specifically by arguing for Ida Scott’s withheld perspective as a means of constructing a “speaking agent” with whom the reader can enact the process of recognition. By performing close readings through the lens of an increasingly relevant philosophy of relations, this project seeks to prove that Baldwin’s novels can be understood as a latent predecessor to Benjamin’s rendering of “thirdness.” In identifying Baldwin’s attention to the formation and sustainment of identity as a process of met and unmet models of recognition as a “principle, function, or relationship,” this project seeks to reconcile the gaps left unanswered by both fiction and theory.
subject
Identity Studies
James Baldwin
Jessica Benjamin
Relational Psychology
contributor
Madera, Judith (advisor)
Alford, Lucy (committee member)
Bowie, Rian (committee member)
date
2024-05-23T08:36:13Z (accessioned)
2024-05-23T08:36:13Z (available)
2024 (issued)
degree
English (discipline)
identifier
http://hdl.handle.net/10339/109420 (uri)
language
en (iso)
publisher
Wake Forest University
type
Thesis

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