Stitch and Split: Feminist Alternatives to Frankensteinian Myths in Shelley Jackson’s "Patchwork Girl"
Baren, Annabel Margaret van
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The thesis explores how Shelley Jackson’s hypertext work “Patchwork Girl” (1995) provides a feminist alternative to dominant Frankensteinian mythologies of unethical creation, arguing that it succeeds in doing so by offering alternative approaches to linear and positivist knowledge production. The hypertext work mobilises representational elements of horror, abjection and “unnaturalness” whilst operating on the symbolic, cultural, and imaginary level. The role the technologically mediating apparatus of the Storyspace software plays in this figuration is central. The interplay of texts stemming from various sources and dictions combined with striking images creates a quilt of multiple truths; in this manner, “Patchwork Girl” expresses a non-hierarchical stance between truth and untruth, as well as fact and fiction. Additionally, the thesis suggests that the hypertext provides an accessible, albeit complex, journey into the land of feminist theory, stopping at various key terms and concepts, such as human and non-human agency, text/author, body/text, and memory/subjectivity. The deployed theoretical framework draws on visual culture, women’s studies, literary studies, and philosophy; nevertheless, the dominant analytical toolbox is that of a literary close-reading.