Minimalism, bloodied and raw: Palahniuk's literary violence

Paper


Hourigan, Daniel. 2009. "Minimalism, bloodied and raw: Palahniuk's literary violence." Dixon, Chris and Jacobs, Jason (ed.) 2nd Conference of the International Society for Cultural History (ISCH 2009): Cultures of Violence and Conflict. Brisbane, Australia 20 - 23 Jul 2009 Brisbane, Australia.
Paper/Presentation Title

Minimalism, bloodied and raw: Palahniuk's literary violence

Presentation TypePaper
Authors
AuthorHourigan, Daniel
EditorsDixon, Chris and Jacobs, Jason
Journal or Proceedings Title2nd Conference of the International Society for Cultural History (ISCH 2009)
Year2009
Place of PublicationBrisbane, Australia
Conference/Event2nd Conference of the International Society for Cultural History (ISCH 2009): Cultures of Violence and Conflict
Event Details
2nd Conference of the International Society for Cultural History (ISCH 2009): Cultures of Violence and Conflict
Event Date
20 to end of 23 Jul 2009
Event Location
Brisbane, Australia
Abstract

This paper analyses how Chuck Palahniuk's minimalist violence toward literary style feeds on conflict to bring the reader to a 'gut reaction'. It will be proposed that the
Palahniukian source of this psychosomatic expression is the literary style of 'romantic minimalism'. Foremost, Palahniuk's style is romantic; his stories profane the utility of everyday life from within. And Palahniuk uses minimalist prose to shape this romantic impetus. This minimalism strips the regime of language raw; making it an unadorned core of literary expression that is too intense for merely cerebral celebration. Palahniuk's 'romantic minimalism' condenses the reader's experience into an
evocative experience of, at times conflicted, embodied imagination. This condensed 'gut response' is reflexively explored in Palahniuk's book Diary where the motif of
uncontrollable cerebral excesses (i.e. Stendhal syndrome) is a vital part of the ingested narrative that resonates within the reader's imagination. Mutatis mutandis,
Palahniuk's exposition identifies several axioms that bridge the psychosomatic reception of his literary enterprise with the aesthetic field of his prose. Firstly, the contours of his minimalism are substantially 'in-aesthetic', excessively powerful. Subsequently, this excess is purified and condensed by Palahniuk's minimalism that transforms the words on the page into violent things that exceed the dead symbolic structures of written language, catching the reader unaware. From this it follows that this 'powerful excess' is not localised in the aesthetic 'present time' of the narrative but rather relies on the speculation of imagination, the in-aesthetic excess. Yet the reflexive ficto-critical exposition in Diary only partially reveals the resonance of Palahniuk's 'romantic minimalism' with our 'psychosomatic imagination'. While these axioms appear to suggest something extra-literary about Palahniuk's minimalist prose we should remember that this is merely the fruit of his subjection to the tyranny
of symbolic regiment (language). Thus, in his fidelity to minimalism is Palahniuk also therefore his own tyrant?

ANZSRC Field of Research 2020500399. Philosophy not elsewhere classified
500315. Philosophy of mind (excl. cognition)
500310. Phenomenology
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Byline AffiliationsGriffith University
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Book TitleEncyclopedia of consumer culture
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