Date of Award
Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Prof. HUANG Yunte
Prof. STEVIC Aleksandar
This dissertation examines the travel narratives of Herman Melville and Jack Kerouac arguing that these works epitomize a literary ”becoming” in American history. Being a crucial component of Gilles Deleuze’s positive ontology, this ”becoming” mirrors a multiple and constant transformation toward the minor, the marginal, and the non-white and resonates rigorously with the literature of Melville and Kerouac. The representative works by these two canonical American authors, namely, Typee: A Peep at Polynesian Life (1846) and On the Road (1957), construct aesthetic spaces in which readers are called upon to appreciate the American life of becoming-Pacific and becoming-beat. The geographical and psychological trajectories depicted in both works also allow for an ethical engagement with the Other. Drawing upon anthropology and literary criticism, I further argue that, against the background of imperial expansion and capitalistic production, both Melville and Kerouac’s narratives provide cultural insights that gesture toward an Avant-garde and futuristic cosmopolitanism.
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Song, Y. (2022). American becoming: Poetics, space, and race in the travel narratives of Herman Melville and Jack Kerouac (Doctor's thesis, Lingnan University, Hong Kong). Retrieved from https://commons.ln.edu.hk/otd/168/