Author

Cody Jones

Date of Award

2011

First Advisor

Rebecca Fiske

Second Advisor

John Myers

Third Advisor

Mark Vecchio

Abstract

Taking as its initial area of inquiry the concept of multilinear writing–– that is, text that does not ostensibly exist as a linear narrative where the path of progression from beginning to end is a straight line–– this project offers the early formations of a new literary theory capable of understanding these texts in and of themselves, thus supplanting the current need to resort to reductive analysis. This new theory views the multilinear as the aesthetic endpoint of Postmodern writing. With emphasis placed on the capacities of the text to respond to choices made by the reader, the multilinear as a form attempts to deconstruct many hierarchies heretofore assumed to be inherent to language and writing. In this new theory, the text is viewed as a ‘robot,’ a mechanism for creating meaning that enters into dialogue with the reader and creates, through a mutual exchange of ideas, a product. This thesis also explores the broader implications in the realms of political, cultural, and psychoanalytic theory, all of which are understood to be in a parallel process of evolution. Formatted in keeping with the concept of the rhizome, a quintessential example of multilinear writing, this thesis seeks to embrace the idea of substance as style and lay the groundwork for a new metaphysical and ontological system to succeed and enhance that of the Postmodern. It draws on a variety of sources from a number of fields, with specific attention given to the writings of Jaques Derrida, Ken Wilbur, Jean Gebser, Espen Aarseth, Gilles Deleuze, and Felix Guattari.

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