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Following the Course: The Chronotope of 'The Road' and Acceleration in J.G. Ballard's The Atrocity Exhibition, Crash, and Concrete Island
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of English.
2017 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 20 credits / 30 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Abstract

Belonging to J.G. Ballard’s ‘Concrete and Steel’ period of the 1970’s, The Atrocity Exhibition (1970), Crash (1973), and Concrete Island (1974) depict worlds that, rather than being besieged by nature’s elements as in his earlier novels, are intoxicated by speed and technologisation. Highlighting the nexus of concrete and steel which frame the modern landscape, each of the novels elucidates what has been identified as Ballard’s fear of the devouring tendencies of motorways, airports, and suburban shopping mall culture. This thesis extends from ongoing discussions about Ballard’s landscapes, as it explores the relationship between time and space in the three novels from an Accelerationist perspective: a theory concerned with the rate of social change. In order to analyse the temporal-spatial relationship in the novels, I apply Bakhtin’s theory of the ‘chronotope’ (time-space). As a chronotope of encounter, the chronotope of ‘The Road’ provides a way to navigate Ballard’s novels by eliciting attention to the highways, motorways and overpasses which dominate these narrative worlds. Focusing on how ‘The Road’ is re-accentuated in Ballard’s novels as the auto-system, this thesis will explore how speed is conducive to a distancing of self and surface. In doing so, it will invoke Paul Virilio’s theory of dromology, ‘the logic of speed’. Ultimately, it will show that, as the protagonists of the texts try to navigate alternate paths through space and time they exemplify Accelerationist concerns by drawing attention to destination. I will argue that, while Bakhtin’s chronotope can be applied to Ballard’s novels, they suggest that the chronotope has become infused with notions of speed, effecting not only a change in velocity but accelerating a change on the level of the individual who travels the road.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017.
National Category
Languages and Literature
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URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-144959OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-144959DiVA, id: diva2:1118136
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Available from: 2017-12-21 Created: 2017-06-29 Last updated: 2017-12-21Bibliographically approved

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CiteExportLink to record
Permanent link

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Cite
Citation style
  • apa
  • ieee
  • modern-language-association-8th-edition
  • vancouver
  • Other style
More styles
Language
  • de-DE
  • en-GB
  • en-US
  • fi-FI
  • nn-NO
  • nn-NB
  • sv-SE
  • Other locale
More languages
Output format
  • html
  • text
  • asciidoc
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