Absence in postmodern literature
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This thesis examines postmodern literature's experimentation with figures of absence, specifically as it pertains to texts that draw upon the tropes of detective fiction. In order to elaborate upon the various roles that absence plays in what I am calling the anti-detective story, I closely examine the following three novels: Georges Perec's A Void (La Disparition) , Shelley Jackson's Half Life , and Mark Danielewski's House of Leaves . By applying the ideas of postmodern thinkers such as Jacques Derrida and Martin Heidegger to these texts, I highlight a common affirmation of linguistic and narrative play that stems out of the use of structured absences. Anti-detective texts follow a metaphysical investigation whose final conclusions resist singular interpretation. As a consequence, each text abandons the hope for a definitive conclusion and instead affirms the ability of the narrative and linguistic play that results from absence to keep the text open to multiple readings and interpretations.