Out of this world: surrealist practice and posthumanist ethics in the writing and visual arts of Elizabeth Bishop, Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning

Eckersley, K., 2022. Out of this world: surrealist practice and posthumanist ethics in the writing and visual arts of Elizabeth Bishop, Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This thesis argues that the surrealist aesthetics of Elizabeth Bishop, Leonora Carrington and Dorothea Tanning anticipate a posthumanist approach in a way that both revises women’s relationship with Surrealism and contributes to contemporary feminist and ecological debates. I demonstrate how the surrealist sensibilities exhibited in their prose, poetry and visual art embody Rosi Braidotti's argument that feminism does not share humanist principles. I show how the three subjects deviate from the androcentricism that characterises a humanist positioning in work that recurrently exhibits posthuman themes of entanglement, becoming and metamorphoses. Chapter One explores the human-animal hybrid motif in Bishop's and Carrington's written and visual oeuvre explaining that it bodies forth both our interconnection to the non-human as well as our own inherent animality. Chapter Two develops this investigation of becoming-animal, examining what I describe as becoming-matter themes in the work of Bishop and Tanning. I demonstrate how the boundaryless visions that both evoke speak to new materialist thinking that horizontalises relations between human and non-human worlds. Chapter Three is underpinned by Braidotti's argument that Humanism is at its core Eurocentric examining how Bishop's and Carrington's Latin American work speaks to a more posthuman trajectory in its alignment with the philosophies of indigenous cultures. Chapter Four is driven by Donna Haraway's insistence that stories should no longer be underpinned by a belief in human exceptionalism. To this end I examine how Carrington and Tanning radically retell and defamiliarise traditional tales that are rooted in Western imagination and Christian narratives. Chapter Five argues that the liminal spaces exhibited in the work of all three practitioners eschew the borderlines of Humanism to interrogate instead oneiric and open-ended realms, thus resonating with Michel Foucault's concept of heterotopia.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Eckersley, K.
Date: October 2022
Rights: The copyright in this work is held by the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed to the author
Divisions: Schools > School of Arts and Humanities
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 21 Jun 2023 10:48
Last Modified: 21 Jun 2023 10:48
URI: https://irep.ntu.ac.uk/id/eprint/49240

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