Date of Award

2013

First Advisor

Rebecca Fiske

Second Advisor

Brendan Mathews

Abstract

This thesis provides a theory of anxiety, not as a mere psychological phenomenon, but rather as a constitutive structure in both the experience of the human condition and the definition of what a human being is. Drawing on some select areas of both the psychoanalytic and Continental philosophic tradition, it moves through an selection of narrative works of art from various media in order to situate anxiety in relation both to artistic expression and human experience. It is therefore a mixture of literary analysis, literary and social theory, and ontological philosophy. Through close engagement with both the artistic and theoretical texts upon which my work in based, I situate time, impotence, incomprehensibility, mortality, and forgiveness in relation to one another in order to, ultimately, arrive at an ontology of anxiety.

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