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East is (not) East: the Strange Authorial Psychogeography of Bret Easton Ellis

Alison Lutton (St Hughs College, Oxford)

Abstract:
Bret Easton Ellis is an author whose descriptions of urban space are generally read as indicative of an affectless, postmodern malaise. This article initiates a re-reading of the topography of Ellis's fictional universe, paying particular attention to the representations of authors and their negotiations of space in his latest novels, Lunar Park (2005) and Imperial Bedrooms (2010). Defining the psychogeographic from a late-twentieth-century perspective (where the driver, rather than the flâneur, reigns supreme), and drawing on the narrative properties of urban topography foregrounded by de Certeau, it will discuss several key psychogeographical tropes through which authorship is problematised in Ellis's narratives: namely, the Eastern/Western US intellectual divide, narrative invocations of spatial and textual histories, and the problematisation of traditionally writerly environments such as the office. In so doing, it aims to refigure the strange ways in which Ellis's authors attempt to write themselves into their own textual spaces.


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ISSN 1753-5794