Cinematic monstrosities, literary modernisms
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In this dissertation, I examine the horrific representations that result when the work of American literary modernism intersects with monster movies and horror film. Monster and horror movies as literary representations function as emblems of the legacy of literary “high modernism” and the “shock” of the modernist intervention on the American literary corpus. This monstrous engagement is expressed as an ambivalent preoccupation with the traumas of modern war and the formal and conceptual symptoms of modernism, as well as a deployment of allusions to the syntax and semantics of the modern horror film. My central literary exhibits will be Nathanael West, Djuna Barnes, Thomas Pynchon, Brett Easton Ellis, and Don Delillo. These examples are joined together here primarily by their deployment of monster- and horror-movie technique, imagery, or context to stage various levels of commentary on form and on literary authorship as well as to rehearse and confront the psychic horror of modern warfare and the violence implied or promised by technological innovation.