Date of Award

5-2013

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Legacy Department

English

Advisor

Skrodzka, Aga

Committee Member

Bushnell , Cameron

Committee Member

Manganelli , Kimberly

Abstract

In this essay I will argue that there are embodied, privileged cosmopolitans, that merely masquerade as ghosts in order to avoid border detainment and a critical inquiry into their status. I will, further, argue that it is in the best interests of these cosmopolitans to avoid detection. Transnational discourse allows these cosmopolitans to exercise this privilege by dwelling on the ideal versions of cosmopolitanism. The discourse further obscures the embodied cosmopolitan by focusing upon already excessively embodied exorbitant citizens, which has the double effect of increasing the embodiment of exorbitant citizens while obscuring the privileged cosmopolitan. In order to conduct this analysis, I will use Kristeva's theory of the absent patriarch. Furthermore, I will examine the disappearance of this privileged figure by looking at the privileged cosmopolitanism of Mr. Edward Fairfax Rochester in Charlotte Bronte's mid-century Victorian text Jane Eyre and the elusive cosmopolitanism of Eric Packer in Don DeLillo's post-9/11 novel Cosmopolis. Further, I will show how both of these authors present embodied, male cosmopolitan patriarchs, whose appearance of absence is an illusion consciously constructed by concealing themselves behind other embodiments. That each of these authors is situated during a period of Empire and global expansion seems like no mere coincidence. In the case of DeLillo, I will also examine how he theorizes the cosmopolitan figure in the absence of a visible, contemporary cosmopolitanism, and how that theorization directly implicates the cosmopolitan as embodied, permeable, and fearful of the discovery of his fallibility. I will close by examining the concept of power through absence (or disappearance) that characterizes the exercising of power in both Kristeva's work and, as Zygmunt Bauman has it, in Liquid Modernity at large.

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