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dc.contributor.advisorDillon, Sarah
dc.contributor.authorMcFarlane, Anna M.
dc.description.abstractGestalt psychologists Kurt Koffka and Wolfgang Köhler argue that human perception relies on a form, or gestalt, into which perceptions are assimilated. Gestalt theory has been applied to the visual arts by Rudolf Arnheim and to literature by Wolfgang Iser. My original contribution to knowledge is to use gestalt theory to perform literary criticism, an approach that highlights the importance of perception in William Gibson’s novels and the impact of this emphasis on posthumanism and science fiction studies. Science fiction addresses the problem of difference and the relationship between self and other. Gestalt literary criticism takes perception as the interface between the self and the other, the human and the inhuman. Gibson’s work is of particular interest as his early novels are representative of 1980s cyberpunk while his later novels push the boundaries of science fiction through their contemporary settings. By engaging with Gibson the thesis makes its contribution to contemporary science fiction criticism explicit. In Gibson’s Sprawl trilogy autopoiesis defines life and consciousness, elevating the importance of perception (Chapter I). The Bridge trilogy uses the metaphor of chaos theory to examine dialectic tensions, such as the tension between space and cyberspace (Chapter II). Faulty pattern recognition is a key theme in Gibson’s post-9/11 work as gestalt perception allows and limits knowledge (Chapter III). Chapter IV explains how the gestalt in psychoanalysis creates a fragmented subject in Spook Country (2007). Finally, the gestalt appears as a parallax view, a view that oscillates between the world we experience and the world as represented in the text (Chapter V). I conclude that gestalt literary criticism offers an exciting new reading of Gibson’s work that recognises its engagement with visual culture and cyberpunk as a whole.en_US
dc.publisherUniversity of St Andrews
dc.rightsCreative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
dc.subjectScience fictionen_US
dc.subjectGestalt psychologyen_US
dc.subjectWilliam Gibsonen_US
dc.subjectLiterary criticismen_US
dc.subject.lcshGibson, William, 1948- --Criticism and interpretationen_US
dc.subject.lcshGestalt psychologyen_US
dc.subject.lcshCriticism--Psychological aspectsen_US
dc.subject.lcshScience fiction--History and criticismen_US
dc.titleA gestalt approach to the science fiction novels of William Gibsonen_US
dc.type.qualificationnamePhD Doctor of Philosophyen_US
dc.publisher.institutionThe University of St Andrewsen_US
dc.rights.embargoreasonThesis restricted in accordance with University regulations. Electronic copy restricted until 18th December 2024en_US

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Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Except where otherwise noted within the work, this item's licence for re-use is described as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International