"Creating the Senses"
: Sensation in the Work of Shelley Jackson
Umeå Studies in Language and Literature, no. 18
How do literary works employ language to evoke sense impressions? This is the question addressed in this dissertation, triggered by the oeuvre of contemporary American author and multimedia artist Shelley Jackson. Inspired by the recent wave of sensory scholarship in the humanities and guided by the philosophers Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari’s theories on art and writing, this study develops a notion of literary phantom sensations. Drawing upon Deleuze's notion of the virtual as real but not actual, ”phantom” is not meant to indicate a pale shadow of real sensations, but the intensely perceived realness of phantom limb phenomena. Furthermore, Jackson's particularly sensual writing style is described in terms of body writing and object writing, and put in the context of other politically experimental writers such as Djuna Barnes, Neil Bartlett, Brigid Brophy and Leonora Carrington, together forming a minor writing for queers to come. This dissertation makes a contribution of literary, cultural, feminist and queer studies.