Thomas Library

Honors Thesis Archive

Author Justin Blackwood
Title The Imitations [novella]
Department English
Advisor D'Arcy Fallon
Year 2009
Honors University Honors
Full Text View Thesis (352 KB)
At the author's request, an electronic copy of this thesis is only available to on-campus users.
Abstract The Imitations is a novella, its central thesis being an examination of the difficulty (impossibility?) of intellectual originality, and the gradual sublimation, from the late 1960's to today, of various radical trends into pop-cultural capital, such that true rebellion against the powers that be is ultimately impossible. (Cf. Foucault's idea that power is discursive). The author mentions this primarily because this theme is somewhat buried within the novella itself, which, like the great films of the French New Wave tradition upon which it was inspired (The Mother and the Whore, Jeanne Dielman, Jules and Jim, Masculin-Feminin, L'Amour Fou to name a few), focuses primarily on a group of self-absorbed bourgeois and their propensity towards infinite chatter and self-analysis. The author also wanted to write a "campus novel" that presented things from the other side of the desk, from under the floorboards, from the perspective of the groundlings. i.e. a campus novel that focused on students rather than faculty, since students at the author's present age have such a limited perspective on life, since to them the slightest slights, the most trivial trivialities are apocalyptic events, worth endless speculation and subsequent retaliation. Those campus novels that focus on faculty have to focus their satire on the characters themselves, rather than their milieu... All of this should help to lay out the stated intention of the text... Of course, the author having overestimated the amount of time he had to complete this work, the second half of The Imitations is almost entirely bad, often catastrophically so. At least one chapter simply had to be dropped entirely because the author lacked the time to finish it, everything after Chapter 6 had to be rushed through, Henry's intellectual/psychological state is never fully explained, and Tom blurs into every other male character in the novella. And let us not even talk about the hack job done to poor Lily... In brief, this text should be regarded very much as a rough draft, one that the author will revise repeatedly over the summer until he can bear to think of it without wincing. (For starters, the title will no longer be The Imitations but The Emulators). In its current state, it might be most helpful to think of the novella as a much extended abstract in its entirety, rather like the map in the Borges story that is on a 1:1 scale... Enjoy?

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