Shelley Jackson's "Patchwork Girl": Hysteria, hypertext, and the ethics of the fragmented body, or, Am I a woman or a monster?
Johnson, Holly A
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Shelley Jackson's hypertext novel Patchwork Girl is a continuation of the work of Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley's Frankenstein, told from the perspective of the female monster who escapes destruction at the hands of her male maker to survive in the New World as a necessarily post facto, fragmented, reinvented, collective body. In this sense, Jackson's monster is the metaphorical embodiment of the fragmented consciousness of the Hysteric, the muse and ruse of psychoanalysis from Sigmund Freud to Jacques Lacan. But rather than diagnosing this character, I locate in her mode of collective fragmentation a redefinition of what it means to be both a creative and ethical subject, in which there is no original to return to, but rather only a reconciliation between, disparate and often conflicting sources.