Constructing the Textual Psyche: The Employment of Cyberspace and Psycho-spatial Chronotopes in Jeanette Winterson’s The PowerBook and Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts
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The novel’s narrative chronotope and the text’s relationship with its author and the reader are crucial elements for analysing how writing and reading processes correspond to the actualisation process of a work. While literary criticism offers various approaches to the subject, with the advent of cyberspace, the influence of cyberculture can be observed in contemporary novels which can be said to necessitate a more specific approach. Especially postmodern novels such as Jeanette Winterson’s The PowerBook (2000) and Steven Hall’s The Raw Shark Texts (2007) utilise cyberspace as a significant component of their narrative chronotopes to enhance the reading experience on a psychological level by means of employing an approach that renders the text dynamically interactive and participatory towards its reader. Their narrative employs a psychospatial/temporal chronotope that aims to transcend the process of reading by presenting a textual psyche that emulates an authoritative persona towards the reader. The reader is thus treated as if they are an element in the narrative, as well as a (co/re)writer in the actualisation of the work. This thesis aims to offer a definition for the psychospatial/temporal chronotope in order to analyse the construction of the textual psyche in Winterson’s and Hall’s postmodern novels The PowerBook and The Raw Shark Texts. The first chapter explores the textual psyche in The PowerBook by analysing its psychospatial chronotope along with the influences of cyberculture for the progression of its narrative. The second chapter examines The Raw Shark Texts for its textual psyche through its psychospatial chronotope’s analysis and how the novel benefits from linguistic and semiotic fields by presenting a convergence of text with cyberspace. The mentioned postmodern novels with their multi-layered chronotopes hence present a textual psyche that renders the reader an element that is subject to its textuality and is responsible in its actualisation while simultaneously signifying the traceable importance of its author.