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Revolutionary Desire: Nonsense in Language and Literature

Henkle, Alexander
Nonsense is important to the construction of language. Without it, we couldn’t even speak and hope to represent anything we actually wish to say. The structure of metaphor relies on the connections of largely disparate concepts which both relies on current codes of language and disrupts those codes, expanding language and meaning itself. The pairing of these initially seems nonsensical, but soon creates new sense which changes the ways we think and speak. To say metaphor is an isolated part of language, however, would be to undermine its very relationship to reality and thought. This thesis analyses nonsense in language and suggests it could be interpreted in the context of revolution through a form of dialectic deconstruction and rejection of capitalist constraints on language. In particular, the theories of Giles Deleuze and Felix Guattari on the ability for the schizoid personality, under Lacan’s psychoanalytic model, prove useful to connecting nonsense to a revolutionary point of view. I use the texts of various theorists, notably Theodore Adorno and Jean Baudrillard's cultural theories coupled with Umberto Eco and Ludwig Wittgenstein's linguistic theories, and apply them to the literary works of Lewis Carroll (Through the Looking Glass), Tristan Tzara (Vingt-Cinq Poems), and Gertrude Stein (Tender Buttons) to justify my analysis. Ultimately, however, the revolutionary potential of nonsense falls short, and the implications for future revolution are discussed.
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