Writing the unreality: Madness as an affective worlding in the fiction of Anna Kavan.
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In this thesis I consider madness not to be an endpoint of signification where all meaning shatters, and to show this I will focus my research on the fiction of British writer Anna Kavan. Kavan writes stories that are based on her own experiences with madness, and in her work she shows that madness inhabits affective creative connections. These connections relate to literary tropes that inhabit extensions from the self towards the more-than-human world. My thesis works within the fields of mad studies, écriture féminine, autofiction and queer studies. By working in these fields I am engaging in a critical perspective regarding the influence of psychiatry whilst simultaneously illuminating the potentiality inherent in the writing of madness. I will work with a complex and ambiguous phenomena that is the unreality. The unreality is the co-existence of multiple consciousnesses in a non-hierarchical composition. By considering the unreality the worlding of madness, I will engage in a close- reading of two stories by Anna Kavan. The story ‘A Changed Situation,’ works with the trope of the house in which the house represents more than an inanimate pile of bricks. The house shows its agency to the fictional “I,” thereby subjecting the “I” to its agential will. The second story, ‘A Visit,’ explores an interspecies relationship between the fictional “I” and a leopard that is shaped through love and loss. In this thesis I address the multiplicity of affective potentialities that arise from the writing of the experience of madness. I establish the worlding of madness as an affective co-making, a becoming-together, an eternal thinking through difference, by which the rational singular fixed dichotomous structures are being challenged. By result an awareness arises for the embodied knowledge within the fiction of Anna Kavan.