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Author: Doreen Bauschke

In The Pleasure of the Text Roland Barthes averres that the engagement with certain texts can evoke a feeling of jouissance, a kind of bliss that is akin to the ecstasy one experiences during the sexual climax. This notion that the textual can amount to an erotic experience which arouses sexual desires is thematised in Shelley Jackson’s hyperfiction, Patchwork Girl. This digital rewrite of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein aims to tell the true story hidden behind ʻthe paisley of [Frankenstein’s] negative spacesʼ; it seeks to uncover ʻthe fierce hunger under [Mary Shelley’s] stays’ which she experienced when engaging with her female monster, Patchwork Girl. Patchwork Girl reveals that Mary Shelley’s textual passion as a writer constitutes a masked expression of her erotic attraction for her own creation, which actually turns into a sexual experience with the female monster, as the subsequent close reading of Patchwork Girl unveils.

In: PanEroticism
Author: Doreen Bauschke

Shelley Jackson’s computer novel Patchwork Girl, Or, A Modern Monster (1995) revolves around textual and anatomical bodies as monstrous patchworks. The hypertextual corpus of this digital re-make of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Or, A Modern Prometheus (1818) is stitched together of appropriated scraps from Shelley’s original, various other intertexts and Shelley Jackson’s own scribal fragments. In similar fashion, the protagonist Patchwork Girl, who is the resurrected female monster that was destroyed by Victor Frankenstein before completing it in Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, is pieced together from anatomical parts of several corpses. The result of this patchwork technique is a title character who is multiple and mutable, several and simultaneous, like the hypertext that relates her story. Due to these features, the corpus of the electronic text as well as the body of the central figure might be deemed monstrous, since they deviate from prescriptive literary and social conventions. Ultimately, however, Patchwork Girl structurally as well as thematically celebrates and normalizes textual and anatomical patchworks.

In: Twisted Mirrors: Reflections of Monstrous Humanity
Author: Doreen Bauschke

The main character of Susan Glaspell’s The Verge is Claire Archer, a (mad?) scientist experimenting with plants, attempting to ‘explode their species’, trying to ‘break them up into crazy things’. When Glaspell’s expressionistic drama was staged by the Provincetown Players in 1921, this female protagonist appeared to many as a New Woman gone mad; a theatrical figure who refused to be tied down by motherhood and wifehood; utterly disinterested in her daughter who turned out to be a cultivated, proper young lady, and thus merely amounted to a failed past experiment; a female protagonist who moreover completely ignored all of her husband’s needs and, as if this was not sufficient display of ill-breeding, was also prone to taking lovers and, even more shockingly, not willing to hide these affairs from her family. Thus at the end of the play, when Claire Archer descends into madness after strangling the only man who truly understood and loved her, the play seemed to point at the dangers inherent in women daring to break with the traditional pattern of life. Yet, madness is not meant to serve as a warning in The Verge, as the following close reading will reveal. On the contrary, in a world gone dead in old forms, madness is seen by Claire as ‘the only chance for sanity’; since one can only reach the desired otherness that truly enables you to be alive by going to pieces and by breaking up all previous patterns.

In: Schizo: The Liberatory Potential of Madness
Author: Doreen Bauschke

Shelley Jackson’s computer novel Patchwork Girl, Or, A Modern Monster (1995) revolves around textual and anatomical bodies as monstrous patchworks. The hypertextual corpus of this digital re-make of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Or, A Modern Prometheus (1818) is stitched together of appropriated scraps from Shelley’s original, various other intertexts and Shelley Jackson’s own scribal fragments. In similar fashion, the protagonist Patchwork Girl, who is the resurrected female monster that was destroyed by Victor Frankenstein before completing it in Mary Shelley’s gothic novel, is pieced together from anatomical parts of several corpses. The result of this patchwork technique is a title character who is multiple and mutable, several and simultaneous, like the hypertext that relates her story. Due to these features, the corpus of the electronic text as well as the body of the central figure might be deemed monstrous, since they deviate from prescriptive literary and social conventions. Ultimately, however, Patchwork Girl structurally as well as thematically celebrates and normalizes textual and anatomical patchworks.

In: Twisted Mirrors: Reflections of Monstrous Humanity
Author: Doreen Bauschke

Abstract

The central character of Susan Glaspell’s The Verge is Claire Archer, a (mad?) scientist experimenting with plants. She aspires to ‘explode their species’, trying to ‘break them up into crazy things’. When Glaspell’s drama was staged in 1921, this female protagonist appeared to many as a New Woman gone mad. Yet, while most of the characters around her (and also most of the critics interpreting the play) fixate their attention on gender issues, Claire focuses on more fundamental issues that not only concern women (or feminists) but all of humanity. As the following close reading will reveal, Claire’s words and actions in this expressionistic drama are meant to teach us a symbolic lesson. Her example urges us to revise common notions of madness and sanity in order to understand that ‘madness is the only chance for sanity’; because humanity can be delivered from the dictates of normalcy by madness alone.

In: The Sense and Sensibility of Madness
Author: Doreen Bauschke

Slavery turned African Americans into a fragmented people not only by separating their families and their communities but also by fragmenting the bodies and the psyches of those who were subjected to that peculiar institution. Toni Morrison treats this Diaspora of African (American)s in the USA in her neo slave narrative Beloved. A subtle motif, which has gone unnoticed by most scholars, emblematically depicts this diasporic fragmentation in Morrison’s novel, namely the family heirloom quilt, originally begun by Baby Suggs and later redone and finished by Sethe and Beloved. This textile motif serves as the connecting thread for the novel’s highly fragmented content. It is employed to illustrate the psychological and physical effects of slavery and to allude to a collective healing method for this fragmented people. This chapter focuses on the significance of the family heirloom quilt for the character development of the novel’s protagonist, demonstrating that the patchwork quilt serves as a textile symbol for Sethe’s character development and that it hints at the auspicious nature of the novel’s open ending.

In: New Perspectives in Diasporic Experience
In: The Sense and Sensibility of Madness
In: The Sense and Sensibility of Madness
In: The Sense and Sensibility of Madness
In: The Sense and Sensibility of Madness