Hi everyone, I have just updated this page and wanted to start off by saying thank you for all of the support and positivity that people have shown me in regards to this project, it really means a lot!
I also wanted to give you a bit more info and background, and outline my reasons for starting this crowdfunder page, why I hope to raise some money and what it will be used for.
I started this crowdfunder page as a last resort, the concept didn't sit right with me at first and I did so reluctantly, because I'm not really the kind of person who is comfortable asking. However circumstances are that I have few other options, but the level of good will I have felt since opening up and asking others to help and to support me in this has really meant a lot and I now see this as an amazing opportunity to connect with others and to share my research in an exciting new way, asking others to contribute to what will become a fantastic piece of research and really kick-start my life-changing career!
I began this page in the hope of connecting with others, sharing my project and hopefully sparking interest for the story I want to tell, as well as to raise any funds to help pay my university fees (£2k a year) which are due in October, so that I can continue with my research and in my aim to get a PhD in English Literature. Any funds raised will go towards these payments and nothing else, and I just felt it important to reiterate this, and I urge you all to look out for my work as it is published over the coming months and years as demonstrative of my commitment to this! :)
Anyway, I'm sure you want to hear more about the project and not me....
My research in contemporary literature explores a range of important and contentious 'self-destructive' fictions, which I argue challenge our assumptions about what's acceptable, and what isn’t, and demonstrate possibilities for personal and communal change in a world where alternatives are limited.
Within this project I examine extreme literary reactions to the experience of life under neoliberalism, uncovering a transgressive ethos that increasingly resonates in both literature and in the real-world. In short, I argue that through fantasies of self-destruction, literature stages a devastating and important re-negotiation of the monstrous, the acceptable, of the ethical. In doing so, I hope to breathe new life into philosophical questions about the role of nihilism and transgression, as vehicles for individual and social change.
The kinds of authors I read challenge contemporary culture, ethics and politics in devastating ways and their fictions are flooded with scenes of violence, perversion, addiction and death.* I know, it seems bleak... I'm working with a lot of dubious, cynical and horrific fictions, revisiting themes that a lot of other studies now don't. But I do this because I believe the power of horror and transgressive literature as a means of exploring the most extreme and bleak of fantasies, to challenge authority, and, importantly, to make us question our own preconceptions and identities. That said, I do not necessarily read these authors as some kind of moralists, or attempt to emphasize a perverse benefit to real-life self-destruction, either.
As my research develops over the next two years, I want to examine how literary and abstract (self-)destructive fantasies undermine and transgress political powers and cultural norms, exploring the possibilities of an alternative to the increasingly traumatic experience of life in western societies. As a result, my unique readings of these kinds of fictions and my work in areas of contemporary horror, nihilism and post-Marxist theory in attempt to re-engage readers with transgression, nihilism and self-destruction which, I argue, exhibits a special power to challenge individual and communal discontent, in situations devoid of rational alternatives.
My goal is to produce a fantastic body of research that contributes in an original and exciting interdisciplinary conversation about the philosophical, cultural and political implications of transgression and self-destruction and gets my the final qualifications. And if my project resonates with your own interests or sparks an idea I would love the opportunity to talk about it with you, too, so please don't hesitate to comment or get in touch!
Thank you for reading this far, and I sincerely hope you find my work interesting or worthwhile. I have always had a love for literature, and although I was never the A* candidate, I am proud to have got to the PhD stage through determination, hard work and a passion for the subject. The completion of this PhD is the next stepping stone towards fulfilling my ambition to become a lecturer in English Literature, and providing all goes well I aim to complete by 2018.
I am currently 2 years into this degree, working on a part-time basis and self-funding my studies. So far I have worked very hard to balance employment, voluntary work and commitments, and my studies, and have made great progress (I have written aroud half the thesis, published a couple of articles**, organised and ran Gothic reading groups open to the public, and occasionally teach at my university. However, life situations have meant that self-funding this qualification has become a struggle and isn't sustainable in the long term, something which is hard to take. As a result I have had to resort to crowdfunding as a means of trying to raise the money to pay towards my fees. Any contribution that can be spared would mean an awful lot to me and any money raised would be spent entirely on paying my fees.
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this, any comments would be greatly received and please feel free to contact me if you have any questions or want to discuss any aspect of this project - I'm always happy to talk!
* The kinds of authors I focus on include Chuck Palahniuk, J. G. Ballard and Bret Easton Ellis, for example.
** These articles, one on American Psycho and the other on the fiction of Thomas Ligotti, can be found at https://thedarkartsjournal.wordpress.com/