Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Master of Arts


Comparative Literature


Calin-Andrei Mihailescu


The following text engages the concepts of the grotesque, the self, and language through a reading of three novels: Severo Sarduy’s Cobra, Samuel Beckett’s The Unnamable and José Donoso’s El obsceno pájaro de la noche. The novels introduced here find themselves in the position of contributing to the theory of the self, of language and the grotesque through their own experimentations with these concepts, and whose method and creativity align with particularly critical movements in theory, including but not limited to Gilles Deleuze and Félix Guattari. Just as theorists such as Mikhail Bakhtin and René Descartes engage with problems like ‘what is the self?’, ‘what is language?’ and ‘what is the grotesque?’, so too do Beckett, Donoso and Sarduy; and the purpose of this text is to broadly frame these relations and contribute an analysis. The novels discussed throughout this thesis show that identity can be rethought and redefined. They deterritorialize human identity by evincing different ways of behaving and different ways of understanding the self, or even by showing that there is no necessity to hold subjects to such a construction.