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It hurts!: Investigating the Aesthetic Strategies of Four Novels by Kathy Acker

O'Neill, Kevin (2007) It hurts!: Investigating the Aesthetic Strategies of Four Novels by Kathy Acker. PhD thesis, University Of Strathclyde.

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The moral outrage that suffused Western media from Stockhausen's analogue of catastrophic destruction with aesthetic innovation--a relation at the heart of this inquiry--at once signals and yields insight into the dimensions of a new sociocultural paradigm that has arisen since the World Trade Center attacks: what Baudrillard in effect describes as a culture of terrorism. It also provides a useful lens through which critical questions about intersections of language and power--specifically how Western hegemony is shaped and disseminated by normative narratives--can be refrained in a post 9/11 context. Indeed, while the dispute about Stockhausen's statement continues to remain centered on questions of representation (i.e., what was said vs. what was meant), little consideration has been given to why an aesthetic evaluation of a terrorist act catapulted a musician into the political limelight. Why and how did Stockhausen's statement create such an impact? What does the public's reaction to his choice of language reveal about normative interpretive models and the discursive operations that are at work to corral them into shape?